Martha, Martha, Martha. Active, hard-working, serving.
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… — Luke 10:38–40
Anxious, busy, distracted. In this passage, Jesus, Martha’s Savior, is sitting in her living room and she is… busy. In fact, it even bothers her that Jesus is not recognizing how much work she is doing.
…“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
— Luke 10:40
But Jesus says:
…“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 10:41–42
It seems as though Martha thought that her work was necessary, good and noble. But I think that we can tell by her frustrations that her serving was not just a product of love but, as Jesus points out, a product of anxiety.
I’m not sure what produced this anxiety inside of Martha, but I know for myself that anxiety is usually the result of pride. I am very acquainted with prideful anxiety. When I trace my anxiety back to its roots, I’m often left with the thought, “If I don’t get this done, someone will think less of me.” This type of pride turns neutral activities into unnecessary acts that distract us from our Savior.
Why was Martha so distracted? isn’t the real question. I think we can all wrap our minds around Martha’s emotions. The real question is this: Why wasn’t Mary?
Mary was in the same house with the same issues that Martha was, but Mary was able to somehow set aside her distractions and sit at the feet of her Lord. Mary was able to do this because she was captivated the presence of her Savior. She was feasting on the bread of life. She was replenishing her soul and filling it with joy from the well of her Lord. She was basking in the time that she had with Jesus.
Being enthralled and fascinated by something has a way of revealing our priorities in life. When I am in love with something, I take every second of the day that I can to be around it. I research it, I participate in it, I practice it, I enjoy it. I prioritize it. We make time for what we are passionate about.
We determine our priorities by what we love.
So how do you stir up your affections for Jesus so that your love for him is greater than anything else in life? Stop and ask. Sit at the feet of your gracious Savior and ask. He loves you, and he loves me. He will not withhold himself from you.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
— Romans 8:32
Soak in his Word. Hear him speak to you through his Word. Ask him to reveal himself to you as you read about the work of Christ. The more we know the goodness of God, the more we will be astounded by him. The more we understand the love that he has shown us, the more we will be captivated by him.
Here are some examples on how God has shown his love for you:
• God showed his love for you by knowing you before you were born.
In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.
— Ephesians 1:5–6
• God showed his love for you by creating you.
Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory.
— Isaiah 43:6–7
• God showed his love for you by sending you a Savior.
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest.”
— Luke 2:10–14
• God showed his love for you when Christ died for you.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
— 2 Corinthians 5:14–15
• God showed his love for you by making you spiritually alive.
God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved — and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
— Ephesians 2:4–7
• God showed his love for you by the way Jesus prayed for you.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
— John 17:24