Mary and Martha

Come, Sit at the Feet of Jesus

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 (NASB)

Jesus has come to dinner! You want to serve exceptional food using your best dishes, tablecloth, candles, and fresh flowers. You check for cobwebs and dust. You comb your hair, put on your favorite dress and an apron to protect it. But there’s your sister just sitting there listening to Him, oblivious to all that must be done!

We understand Martha’s complaint when she asks Jesus to intervene. She’s doing all this work for Him. But wait—He doesn’t seem sympathetic. He praises Mary’s choice, and tells Martha to calm down. “One thing is necessary,” He tells her. One what? One loaf of bread? One bowl of soup? Is that really enough? “Mary has chosen the good part,” He adds.

Strong’s concordance defines good as “useful, pleasant, joyful, excellent.” Vine’s concordance defines it as “of benefit.” Jesus is saying that it’s useful and beneficial to be still, to sit at His feet, and just listen to Him.

To do that, we can simplify our lives. Simpler meals Simpler schedule. “Right,” you say, “but I have so much to do. Nobody else is going to do it!” Maybe some of it shouldn’t be done.

Can you separate the urgent from the important and the not-urgent from the not- important? Urgent is easy to spot—blood, unconsciousness, life and death situations. Drop everything. Not urgent can be postponed. Important things usually have eternal value, but we often neglect them. We plan to do them later; however, often we don’t get around to it. Not-important things should be done only after all the important things are finished.

Spending time with Jesus each day is important. You may have to give up a little sleep or your favorite diversion, but the rewards are greater than the sacrifices. His presence refreshes more than any earthly enjoyment. As David said, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11 NASB).

You can’t do everything. Choose the “good part.”


What two types of food does Jesus mention in John 6:27-35? What does He say in answer to the people’s question, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God” (v. 28)?

Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Verse 6 says, “A time to keep and a time to throw away.” Can you think of things to throw away, including activities as well as things? How can you simplify your life so that you have more time for important matters such as deeper Bible study and more prayer?

Jesus didn’t try to do everything. How did He know what He should do according to John 5:19-20, 30? How can we follow His example?

Read Ephesians 2:8-10. What are the works God has prepared for you? Have you asked Him lately what He wants you to do?

 Nancy J. Baker

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