The Best Thing

He and his friends had been traveling most of the day.

The little neatly-kept house appeared along the dusty road as an oasis of good cheer and kind hospitality.

They were glad to be there.

He was warmly welcomed – beloved by the two sisters and their older brother. They considered it an honor and joy to host him. They were his followers.

But soon there was trouble in the kitchen.

Martha was banging pots and pans around and it was clear she wasn’t happy. With some people, you can’t tell if they’re upset – they disguise it pretty well. They may be smoldering on the inside but they’re smiling on the outside.

Martha was not that type.

With Martha, it was pretty easy to tell. What you saw in her is what you got: simple, direct, blunt and very compassionate. Martha had a sharp tongue, an energetic spirit – and a big heart.

You and I know folks like Martha.

She was preparing a meal for Jesus and his disciples. It was a large meal and it would be a nice one, Martha would see to that. It would be work but she’d get it done. And she’d get it done right. She knew this is what Jesus wanted. He and the disciples had to be hungry after all that walking.

Martha would fix a lovely dinner they’d all enjoy.

She was doing this out of devotion to the Lord. She was serving him with a full heart of love and generosity. She was sure Jesus knew this too. He’d appreciate it and let her know.

But she was getting a bit ticked that she was in the kitchen alone.

Her younger sister Mary was in the living room, along with the other men. Jesus was teaching them and Mary “also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word” (Luke 10: 39, KJV).

Mary was “hanging on every word he said” (verse 39, The Message).

A woman didn’t join the men for theological discussions in the parlor, especially if her sister was slaving away – alone – in the kitchen.

It was unheard of.

“What in the world is he thinking? Is he blind? I can’t believe this is happening – and he acts like he doesn’t even notice!”

“I’ve had it!”

Martha was “distracted with all her preparations” (Luke 10:40, NASB, emphasis added).

She was “worrying over the big dinner she was preparing” (NLT, emphasis added).

The Message says she “was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen” (emphasis added).

Martha had worked herself up into a frenzy of diligent, heartfelt service.

And the poor woman was about to lose it.

Perspiration gathering on her forehead, sleeves rolled up to her elbows and with a look that would have killed her sister had Jesus not been there, Martha came into the living room and interrupted the Savior.

“Lord,” she raised her voice, “doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me” (verse 40, NLT).

“Do you not care?” (NASB)

Jesus remains calm. He doesn’t scowl or appear upset that Martha has stormed into the living room, cut him off in anger, and barked an order at him.

Instead he smiles and gently speaks to her.

“Martha, Martha.”

Jesus knew what was going on in the kitchen. He also knew what was going on inside Martha’s heart and mind. He saw the temperature rising with each slam of the pan and each bang of the pot.

But even here there is love – and a lesson.

“You are worried and bothered about so many things,” Jesus told her, “but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (verse 41-42, NASB).

Jesus told Martha, so hot and bothered, so “distracted”:

“There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it – and it won’t be taken away from her” (NLT, emphasis added).

Have you discovered that one thing – among so many competing things – that one great thing?

Sometimes when we get up in the morning, you and I are, like Martha, distracted, worrying, and we are pulled away. All the “things” we’ve got to do race at us from a hundred different directions.

What we need is a single right priority in our lives. We must recognize and embrace the primacy of the spiritual.

We may commit ourselves to service but first we must commit ourselves to Christ.

We may want to change the world but first we must let God change us.

We are concerned about so many things but the first thing we must do is seek the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.

Paul’s one great ambition was to know Christ and to be changed by him.

You and I must be willing at times to get out of the blaring noise and blistering turmoil of the world’s kitchen and sit serenely at the feet of the Master.

Like Mary, we must first turn our eyes upon Jesus.

Discover this and it will never be taken away from you.

It is the one thing.

It is the best thing.

May God blesss you and your family.

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