It’s not that my former exposition was inaccurate. It’s not that my theology was incorrect.
It’s that there is just another element to the story that I need to emphasize….
Martha was taking care of Jesus and His entourage while they were visiting in her home, but her sister Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His teaching. When Martha complained to Jesus about Mary’s irresponsible behavior, Jesus responded that Mary was doing what’s really important (vs. 42).
Although we want to be spiritual Mary’s, we’re really superficial Martha’s. We busy ourselves in doing good works and then don’t have have the time or energy to fulfill our spiritual calling.
We do it in our personal and professional lives as well. We often choose doing the easy tasks over doing the important assignments.
It’s not so much that we don’t know what’s important; it’s that we get distracted from doing it.
And, some of us are easily distracted!
In fact, I’m so easily distracted that it makes me wonder if it’s because I don’t really want to put the effort into doing the hard stuff!
Recently, while visiting a friend in the hospital I told him that I had to go but would be praying for him. I was embarrassed when my friend mentioned that another person had come to visit and prayed with him.
Clearly, distraction is a reason for not doing what’s important. And, we certainly live in a time when there’s plenty to distract us.
But, are we always so easily distracted or do we want to remain in our comfort zone?
Following Jesus means we have to break out of our spiritual comfort zones. When Jesus said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, He was advocating some truly radical behavior.
In fact, there is a pattern of subversion from people’s commonly held beliefs in Jesus’ teachings. Behavior that seems to make us good persons–like Martha serving Jesus and His friends–may be just the opposite of what God expects–like Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His teaching.
Jesus taught that citizens of God’s kingdom should adhere to a higher standard of behavior because if they do not follow this higher standard of behavior, then God’s people are really no different from unbelievers.
When you take the easy path and spend your time and efforts doing low-level good works, you are trying to become a good person according to your own efforts. To fulfill God’s plans and purposes in our lives requires us to do what’s really important–the things that matter for eternity!
Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62, ESV)