“…a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Whenever I hear people talk about the story of the two sisters Mary and Martha in the Bible, the focus seems to be on how vital it is we spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus hearing His Word, learning of Him, and enjoying fellowship with Him. There is undoubtedly nothing more important in the universe than seeking the face of the Lord, spending time in His Word and in His presence, praying, praising, hearing and obeying Him. If this is not our top priority, our lives are out of order. Mary’s priorities were in order, but there is a message about Martha not to be missed.
When Martha complained to Jesus that her sister Mary was not helping her serve, Jesus made it clear sitting at His feet needs to be top priority. But this is not all He said. Note that Jesus did NOT criticize her for serving Him. He rebuked her for the spirit in which she was serving. She was “cumbered”, “careful”, and “troubled.” Per the concordance, the original Greek word for careful includes in its definition “anxious”. Troubled includes “disturbed”, and cumbered includes “dragged around” and “distracted”.
Spending time with the Lord must be number one in our lives, but we are also called to serve Him. There is a way to serve Him, and a way not to serve Him. God does not want us to serve Him with a spirit of being anxious, troubled, dragged around, and distracted. I have a very long way to go in learning to serve Him with a peaceful, quiet heart. Oftentimes, I have found myself running around all stressed out over the ministry work to which He has called me.
How can we learn to serve the Lord with a calm, quiet, and peaceful heart? By sitting at His feet and taking what we learn of Him and the love, peace, quiet, and countless other blessings we find in His presence into our everyday lives of love and service.
Sit at His feet daily, and don’t forget to serve Him also – with a peaceful, humble, and love-filled heart that brings Him glory!