So you know the story: Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening and Martha is laboring to provide true hospitality (which is one of the highest values of Middle Eastern culture shared only with the value of generosity). Anyway, Martha is tired and wants this lazy sister of hers help out a little. Here’s what Jesus is supposed to say in contemporary Western culture:
“Now Martha, Mary, all of life needs balance. Martha, it would really do you well to sit and rest for awhile and just listen. Not to be distracted by so much. You work hard and are busy but you need to still your soul more. You will find great benefit in the place of rest. Now Mary, it would do you well to help out your sister. I know you mean well by listening to me attentively, but your sister is working hard and a little help from you would ease the burden so you could both enjoy what I have to offer. You see, it’s about balance. Neither one of you is right and neither one of you is wrong, it’s just different. We need balance.”
How many times have you heard that! And it’s true, isn’t it? Blah. This is how we would expect our concept of a righteous Jesus to answer. Milquetoast Jesus. I’m so thankful he doesn’t fit into that mold.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”