Daily Devotional

Mary and Martha: At His Feet

by Simon Whitton

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 only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)

Martha was clearly a good person.  She opened her home to the Lord and was busy doing work that had to be done.  She was pragmatic.  But she was a worrier and upset about many things, including who does what and who doesn't.

Martha indignantly questioned the Lord, but He defended Mary who instead chose to sit at His feet where she could receive teaching and instruction.

In this second story, the brother of Mary and Martha has just died.

21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

John 11:21-23, 32-33 (NIV)

Martha is clearly a woman of faith, yet it is Mary who falls at Jesus' feet weeping; and it was Mary who caused the Lord to be 'deeply moved'.

In this third account, Martha is again serving:

2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor.  Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair.  And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected,
5 "Why wasn't this perfume sold and the money given to the poor?  It was worth a year's wages."
6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7 "Leave her alone," Jesus replied.  "[It was intended] that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.
8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."

John 12:2-8 (NIV)

While Martha served, Mary is yet again found at the feet of Jesus as she pours perfume on Him.  This time it appears to be an act of worship and adoration. Again there are objections to Mary's actions, but again the Lord defends her.

One thing we can learn from these stories is, although Martha is a good and helpful person, a woman of faith, it's better to have the passion of Mary.  Let's make sure we spend time at the feet of the Lord each day; whether to listen, to cause Him to be moved as we pour out our grief, or in worship.  Let's not worry about the consequences of our fervor.  Even though there may be things that need to be done, let's put the Lord first, for He will surely defend you.

Spend some time in prayer at His feet...

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