But only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
— Luke 10:42
When Jesus visited Bethany, Martha welcomed Him to her home. While Jesus was there, He would have been speaking words of eternal life to those who were gathered there.
Martha must have been so excited to have Jesus at her home that she would have wanted to serve Him and the people gathered there in the best way possible. She loved Jesus and wanted to bless Him. Her intentions and her actions were to bless Jesus. That was Martha’s choice – being a good hostess.
On the other hand, Mary who could have been helping Martha since she too was the hostess, chose instead to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear those words of eternal life. Consider what Mary had:
In the eyes of Jesus, Mary had chosen the good part, and that one thing that is necessary – listening to Jesus. She chose words of eternal life over works of service. It would have been better for Martha to first listen to what Jesus taught, and then work together with Mary on preparing the meal later. But her heart was so carried away that she neither found rest sitting at the feet of Jesus, nor in trying to serve the guests. In John 6:5, we see that Jesus Himself initiated the request to His disciples to feed the multitude. He cared about their earthly needs and was able to miraculously supply more than enough food to all who had gathered there to listen to Him. He could have done the same in Martha’s house.
Dear sisters, it is the Lord who has given us responsibilities in this world – whether as a single sister, or as a wife, or as a mother. We can get distracted with our works of service by not having our priorities right. That will only make us frustrated at everything, leading to self-pity and complaining. From Mary’s life, may we learn to first listen to Jesus and find rest only in Him. He will then guide us, strengthen us, and help us to fulfill all our earthly responsibilities. Let us run to the feet of Jesus!
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
—Matthew 11: 28,29