But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. Luke 10: 40a
Mary’s got it right. We all know that. Her priorities were certainly straight. She didn’t worry about preparing the food. She didn’t care if the house was clean or not. She didn’t concern herself with the logistics of entertaining a large group of visitors, that probably arrived at her house with very short-notice. She didn’t think about the pantry, the supplies, the sitting charts, the washing basin, the drinks or whether-or-not-there were enough hangers in the coat closet. She saw Jesus and she found her place at His feet immediately.
Some may think of her as flaky. However, Mary didn’t have to worry about any of it because she knew that Martha had it all under control.
This was probably not the first time they had guests in their house. By now, Mary probably didn’t even bother helping Martha, because she knew her sister’s got it. Mary knew Martha could spare her. Selfish? Maybe. Wrong? Absolutely not.
Notice the problem with Martha’s situation is not that she would rather be doing the preparations than spending time with the Lord. I think she wanted to be there, hanging out with Him as well and that’s why she wanted Mary to get off her behind and help her so they could get things done quickly and get to the important business of spending time with Jesus.
Martha, however, allowed the circumstances to consume her…to distract her. She focused on the stuff that needed to be done and forgot that those things were not all that important when compared to focusing on the presence of the Lord.
This situation here is the classic scenario when one person blames the other for choosing what they wish they had chosen as well, but didn’t because of some misplaced sense of duty that made them think they just could not do that too even though they could have. Mind twisting, I know. “Look at all the stuff that needs to be done around here! And what´s my lazy sister doing? Nothing! Of course! She is not even thinking! She is so unreliable! So selfish! What am I going to do? I´m here stuck with all the work, while she is over there enjoying herself! Man, that is so unfair!” Been there, done that.
I’m not 100% sure, but given the fact that the sisters are opening their house to at the very least 13 people (Jesus and the 12, not to mention any other followers that might be squeezing in, like us) makes me think they might be rather well off. Therefore, going out on a limb here, I bet they probably had servants that could have taken care of everything. Martha forgot that. She forgot that she really did not need to be so immerse in the chores.
Perhaps, pride had something to do with this? I may be willing to bet that Martha’s hostess abilities were well-known in the area. She did not want to fail…especially not during the most important entertaining session of her life! She wanted to have every detail be just perfect, which means she had to be there. And by not being able to let go, the task became the thing that prevented her from giving her full attention to the Lord. Her priorities were out of line…(shopping, wrapping presents, baking cookies, decorating, casseroles, parties, dinner…O yeah…Christ was born…)
But, better yet, why not allow the kitchen help and everyone else in the house to come and listen to the Lord and then get to the food and preparations later on?
Guilty as charged…I mean, me…I do all these all the time. I lose sight of what really matters because I become distracted by all what’s going on around it. And when I see others who were wiser than me, taking their place in the presence of the One and Only…I get grumpy. I begin the blame game. I play the martyr role.
It doesn’t mean that the preparations are not important. These men need to eat! But I’m sure they could wait a bit while we all share in the presence of Jesus first. May the Holy Spirit guide us as we go through life, so we don’t get sidetracked by the distractions that so easily entangle us. May the Holy Spirit give us discernment to sort through the tasks so our priorities are in line with what may as well be the main goal of every Christian: to seek Him first.