One day, some 32 years ago, in all of my flurry of activity my husband politely asked me to sit down on the couch. After giving him my to-do list and why I couldn’t and shouldn’t, I finally complied. Then he sat down on my lap. It’s a good thing he didn’t weigh very much! The point–he wanted to talk and spend some time with me–he wanted my undivided attention.
Confession number two, it has taken time to find the balance between sitting to listen and standing to serve. Honestly, some days I do not have that balance.
Life is all about priorities and choices. Daily we all have to make them. Some are no-brainers, other choices require weighing our options–and choosing what we think is the best thing to do. The story of Martha and Mary is an excellent illustration regarding the contrasts of the words “sat” and “serve” (Luke 10:38-39). What can we learn from these two women?
First and foremost, Jesus equally loved both women (John 11:5). Next, both women had faith in Jesus (John 11:24-27; Matthew 26:13). Thirdly, both were uniquely gifted. Perhaps their gifts were hospitality and the gift of mercy or teaching. Finally, they had to make a choice regarding their priorities.
The word “sat” comes before the word serve in the dictionary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and “heard His word” (Luke 10:39). Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 7:33). When you and I sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word, we grow in our relationship with Him and receive our instructions for the day–how and where we are to serve. When we don’t, we become just like Martha, “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40).
Martha may have had her priorities out of order that particular day. I’m sure you have been there just like I have. The to-do list is so overwhelming that if you don’t get started the minute you get out of bed, it simply won’t get finished. But the truth is when you choose to sit with Jesus, you will accomplish exactly what He has for you to do that day. We must not forget Martha truly had a servant’s heart. She graciously opened her home and poured herself into the lives of others. She is an excellent model of biblical hospitality.
This Christmas and throughout the new year, don’t let the word “serve” come before the word “sat” in your life. Instead let the story of Mary and Martha be a gentle reminder to choose the better part–a commitment to sitting then serving–together they bring true balance to our lives.