Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.
 Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her’.
Luke 10:38-42
With five active and involved children, I can easily become ‘distracted with much serving’. I can start my morning coffee early, sit down to read the bible app, realize the dishwasher needs to be emptied, glimpse an email that wants immediate reply, be diverted by a text that is interrupted by a phone call that is cut short by a reminder that it is time to take a child to a place. Before we’ve found the matching shoe or loaded the van, Amazon Prime might ring the doorbell, reminding our dog Mickey that he’d rather be outside, while the washing machine signals time to transfer a load of laundry that will wrinkle if it sits too long. All of this in the name of serving, of helping, will push any enneagram two over to her dark side. And a mother’s resentment can begin simmering when she wonders why nobody notices her efforts or offers to help, for crying out loud!
 
We are called to serve. Paul writes that through love, we are to serve one another, to honor each other above ourselves, to practice hospitality, and to offer our very bodies a living sacrifice. Jesus himself led by serving—feeding the multitudes, healing the sick, and washing the feet of his disciples. He lived what He said, ‘the greatest among you shall be your servant’.
 
If Jesus calls us to serve, and to serve sacrificially, why does Jesus gently admonish Martha for her serving? I believe he does this because He loves her deeply. He saw that she was distracted, anxious, and troubled about many things, and Jesus wanted to show Martha a more excellent way, to invite her to sit at His feet and listen to His teaching.
 
In our culture, we pack time full, pressing down the seconds like grounds of espresso. But learning to know and love God is better done by savoring, and savoring cannot be pressed. Savoring is counter-cultural to our fast-paced world and savoring may be our healing antidote. Savoring calls for a slowing, for stillness, for silencing notifications and setting aside devices, for the space, time and attention to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to His teaching.
 
Though nations rage and kingdoms totter, though waters roar and foam, Psalm 46 tells us to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. This one thing is necessary. This is the good portion, and it will not be taken away from us.
Rebecca Janni | Author

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