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.” ~ Luke 10:38-42
This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. I am drawn to it again and again. We see here Mary’s quiet example of love: she sits at the feet of Jesus. Of course, metaphorically, sitting at his feet is a way of putting herself under his authority, but I think it is also simply a sign of the love and humility she feels. She has placed herself close enough to the Lord to be touched – both physically and spiritually.
But she wasn’t just present in the room – she “listened to his teaching.” This indicates two things. First, she is abiding by something Jesus has previously taught – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). She is not distracted by physical food or preparations – she goes to the source of spiritual food! But second, note that she is “listening.” She is not consumed with defending her decisions or explaining her actions. Neither is she proclaiming her good example. She simply sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to him.
Of course, we all empathize with Martha, who feels overwhelmed – “anxious and troubled about many things.” And yet, she too could have received what Mary did: a good portion “which will not be taken away from her,” as opposed to those things we are anxious and troubled about! Most of the things we worry about CAN be taken away!
Do we want to receive what Jesus offers? Do we want to receive his precious teaching?
Then, we must, with Mary, prioritize sitting at the feet of Jesus. We must place ourselves within his presence and truly listen to what he has to say. He is able to give even today that which is life giving and precious. No matter what may happen in our lives, no matter how we feel, no matter how much we mess up – God’s truths can never be taken away from us. The question is – will we receive them?
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. ~ John 4:14