In the familiar story of Mary and Martha, Martha is busy preparing a meal for Jesus and His disciples, while her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and offers no help to her sister (Luke 10:38-42). Martha is upset by this and complains to Jesus. The reply of Christ speaks volumes about how we should live our lives. He tells Martha Mary has chosen what is more important (Luke 10:41-42).
The story ends without telling us how Martha responded, but I am more interested in the choice of Mary. What was it about Jesus she found so fascinating, so compelling, she defied cultural customs and ignored family responsibilities to spend time at the feet of Jesus?
Throughout the life of Christ, it is obvious He had a sort of gravitational pull towards Himself. Others would come from miles away to hear Him speak or perhaps be healed. Whatever the reason, something pulled them to Jesus. There was an insatiable hunger to be close to and listen to this man. While few forsook everything to follow Him, multitudes forsook their daily responsibilities for the opportunity to be in His presence. They put aside daily chores and neglected their flocks for at least a short time so they could see Jesus. Something pulled them to Him and they could not escape the force compelling them to get closer.
When was the last time you felt such a strong pull to be near Jesus? When was the last time you could say you were truly fascinated by Him? How long has it been since you were so hungry for the Word of God you put everything aside and just sat in His presence? Mary had it figured out. She saw the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and took it. She was unconcerned with what her sister would think, what her neighbors would say, or risking falling into some social taboo. There was Jesus and nothing else mattered to her at the moment.
I ask again, when was the last time you were so eager to be in God’s presence you forsook your plans and responsibilities? If your life is anything like mine, free time is at a premium. In fact, I saw a recent study revealing the average American has about four hours of free time each week. I don’t know if I buy those results or not, but I do feel busyness has become a sickness at least in Western culture. Our inability to sit still at the feet of Jesus is wreaking havoc on our relationship with Him and our ability to love others.
Jesus said Mary had chosen the better thing to do. He said sitting at His feet worshipping and learning from Him was better than being busy with the cares of the world. We all know this to be true on an intellectual level, but our lives reveal we have not yet grasped it as a spiritual reality. We’ve allowed ourselves to succumb to the societal norms of our day and have been blinded by the clever lies of the enemy. No longer do we set aside long periods of time to just be with Jesus. We’ve got too many other things going on in our lives and in the lives of our children. We’ve forgotten what is most important. Climbing the corporate ladder, amassing wealth in your 401(k), or enrolling your child in every extracurricular activity available have little to no eternal value. Only Christ matters. Choose Him. Put aside your busyness and sit at the feet of Jesus.