Even Jesus needed some down time! He had become so popular with his fame spreading far and wide and everyone wanted something from Him. Mothers took their children to him, the sick and blind came to be healed and others simply came to argue and try prove Him wrong. In Luke 10:38-42, we see Jesus in need of a break when he goes to stay with His friends to escape from the demands and stress on Him.
When he arrives at the home of sisters, Mary and Martha, they were both excited to see Him. Martha wanted everything to be perfect, so she poured over the details, while Mary just wanted to sit down and chat! (If Martha was alive now, I imagine she would have a Pinterest board titled, “When Jesus Visits” have filled with images of perfection to achieve for His visit!)
Mary was excited to spend quality time with Jesus and was sitting at His feet, visiting while Martha sprinted around the house in a frenzy. Martha became so frustrated with her sister, she pleaded with Jesus, “Will you tell my sister to get up and help me?!” Jesus replied, “Martha, your sister Mary has chosen a good thing and I’m not going to take it away from her.” There are some very important things for us to hear in this story!
First, verse 40 says, “Martha was distracted with much serving.” Jesus told her Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things! Jesus came to visit for rest and food. Martha wanted to be a good hostess, so she was serving. It wasn’t enough just to get Him a good meal; she wanted everything to be just right, so she wouldn’t sit down. Her task list and perfectionistic attempts prevented her from having a relationship with Jesus. I think that work does this to so many of us! We get overwhelmed with all that we need to do and it gets in the way of our relationship with Jesus. I know it happens to me!
Second, the scripture tells us, “Mary has received a good portion,” Jesus said, “and I’m not going to take that away from her.” Jesus was feeling stressed and pulled in many directions; he was moving toward Jerusalem where he would face so much. I believe when he arrived at Mary and Martha’s home, he needed food, but he also needed the company and love of His friends! Sometimes, we try to take care of all these other things and we forget the need to connect and have fellowship that blesses our soul.
Third, Mary and Martha represent the struggle that goes on within each of us. We all desire to be a part of community and connect; to have fellowship and feed our souls; but on the other hand there is within us a “Martha” who is troubled, distracted and anxious over many things. We are trying to do so many things, our lives are in a hurry and as a result, we get tense and miss opportunities to connect with Jesus and others. Jesus calls us to shed our perfectionistic attempts. He calls us into a relationship with Him and with one another so that we can reconnect, know community and find a place to belong.