Have you ever been to a party where the host was so busy with all the little details that you left the party thinking, “That was a lovely party, but I wish I could have spent more time with the host!” I imagine Jesus feeling the same way about Martha. Her futzing over lunch kept him from enjoying her company and vice versa. Furthermore it caused Martha to have ill feelings about her sister Mary. The last thing there should be between sisters (and brothers) is strife when we are in the Lord’s presence. There is a lot of joy to be taken in being a host and doing something gracious for your guests, but it should never compromise the time we have to really enjoy with them, especially when it starts to feel like work as Martha clearly expresses.
I think that one of the things Jesus is praising in Mary’s behavior in this text is her careful listening and just being present with her guest and her God. Jesus is telling us that there is great wisdom in letting the dishes soak in the sink so we can listen to and relax with Him and others in fellowship.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, help us realize that you come first and so make the time to sit with you in fellowship and listen to your holy Word. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Carl Haynes, Dean of the Carolinas Mission District, and the Pastor of Christiana Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.