The story is brief and seemingly simple. While traveling, Jesus enters a village and approaches the home of a woman named Martha. She opens the door and welcomes him in as her guest. Jesus sits and speaks, sharing himself and his message. Martha’s sister, Mary, sits at his feet and listens to everything he has to say. Meanwhile, Martha is in the kitchen getting everything ready for their meal.
Clearly exasperated by her sister’s disregard for her effort, annoyed that Mary has not even bothered to offer her assistance, and overwhelmed by all there is to do, Martha interrupts Jesus to see if he has noticed Mary’s laziness. She wants him to back her up. She wants him to send Mary to the kitchen to share the workload.
But Jesus does not do what Martha wants at all. Instead, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part.”
Other translations of Jesus’ response refer to Martha as anxious, troubled, upset, worked up, and fussing.
At first glance, it seems that Jesus is reprimanding poor Martha. But maybe he is reaching out to her as a friend and a pastor. Speaking her name twice, he begins to calm this overwhelmed host. And he gives her permission to let go — both of the perfection she is trying to achieve and the expectations she has for her sister. He wants her to enjoy her time with him, and he knows she will if she can let go of the things that are pulling her focus away.
How is your focus? How blurry is your vision? What is distracting and worrying you? What is preventing you from recognizing Jesus in your midst?
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday at 9:30 am in the Sanctuary!
Rev. Casey Orr
Associate Pastor of Discipleship