Choosing the better part
Martha working in the kitchen
This weekend's Gospel reading takes us to the home of Mary and Martha in Bethany. Martha is busy making a meal and wants Jesus' help in getting Mary up off the floor from where she sits entranced at the Rabbi's feet. Instead, Jesus defends Mary's actions, saying she has chosen the better part. In preaching on this passage before, I noted that this comes immediately after the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the two work to balance one another:
If you find yourself busy with many things, but never making time to read the Bible and pray, then the story of Mary and Martha should be speaking to you. The things that busy your life may be good and necessary, but should they have your top priority? What comes first for you now? Job, friends, family, relationship with God, mundane tasks. All of these demand time. How much time do you have to give to each? Many people say that their family and faith are most important, but it’s a challenge to put those priority into action. What do you want to be first in your life? The story of Mary and Martha is a wake up call to look at your priorities.The full text of that sermon is online here: Choosing the better part.
But, if you do find the time for prayer and Bible study, but you without allowing what you read and study to be transformed into service toward others, then you might want to reread the Parable of the Compassionate Samaritan to find out if God is speaking to you through that story. Perhaps you need to put your faith into action.
Jesus’ challenge is not one-sized fits all. Jesus’ advice is not generic, but universal. Each of us has come here today at a different point in our spiritual journeys. Someone is probably here just hoping to survive another day. Someone else is here looking for meaning and purpose in life. The list of where we are and what we need from God goes on. God is reaching out to each of us where we are now to take us a step or two further along the way.
In another sermon on this text, Dragged apart by distractions I compared Martha in the kitchen to Brother Lawrence, the 17th century saint of his monastery's kitchen.
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor