Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, “Lord do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Have you ever related to Martha more than Mary? This a running theme in my life and as it turns out, prevalent in the lives of many of my friends. We have found it quite helpful to remind each other “this is no new problem” but rather one that brings forth much introspection. This account reminds us that a servant’s heart is a cherished thing, but nothing is more valuable than the time and energy we devote to our relationship with the Lord. In other words, seemingly good things can make the most subtle, dangerous idols. Whether it’s an unrealistically clean house, excelling at our job performance, or being everything to everyone in whatever capacity, it has become a daily fight to find our worth in Christ alone. So it is with that context in mind, I want to focus on the last part of this passage. Jesus says to Martha “you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
We often get caught up in the act of serving but have we stopped to evaluate why? You naturally have a servant’s heart? You were asked to do it by people who depend on you? You want to remain willing to do whatever is needed as an ambassador of Christ? These are great reasons, but I think they are too often coupled with other motivators: guilt, pride, expectation, and the approval of others. It was Jesus Christ that said to Martha, “…you are anxious and troubled about many things.” The longing to serve those around us is often used as a faulty barometer of our standing in the eyes of the Lord, rather than the evidence of spiritual fruit overflowing from a place of love and thankfulness. We serve so we can relieve our troubled hearts from anxiousness. We choose service as an act of recompense rather than an act of love.
The Lord tells Martha, “Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” He showed Martha that she had a choice to make and He was the One who would give her the power to do it well. How often do we allow anxiousness to cloud our judgement or blind us from seeing the one thing that is most necessary when committing our tasks? Sisters, how do we move on from an anxious heart to a peaceful one, a heart just dying to sit and have time with our Lord? The answer might seem simple to write, difficult to live out.
We surrender to Him daily. It is for His glory, not our own. It is by His power, not our own. True strength lies in recognizing our weakness without Him.
It is dire that we first humble ourselves and ask the Lord for help as we surrender our “rights”, plans, expectations, and again, the approval of others. Notice a trend? Surrender is the pathway to true freedom in the Lord. Submitting to His will by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is choosing the good portion.
Martha could have taken her anxiousness, surrendered it and knelt before her King, spending her time focusing on the main thing in the living room. Allow me to reiterate, it wasn’t that Mary was a “better” Christian than Martha and it isn’t a bad thing to serve. It was the root of her service that was misaligned. Start with surrender and let your service be guided by the leading of the Holy Spirit. As we surrender ourselves to the Lord, our service becomes the overflow of a thankful heart that loves to bring God glory through opportunities to serve Him and His people. Be encouraged as you ask God to help you fully surrender and in the process, grow closer to the one thing that is most necessary in our lives: honoring a WORTHY Lord. My friends, let’s choose the “Good Portion.” Praying for you and thankful for my sisters in Christ!
Sister in Christ,