“Mary…sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” —Luke 10:39
The story Luke tells about Martha and Mary is a sneakily challenging one. In this story, Martha distractedly goes about all the work that needs to be done as she hosts Jesus and his disciples. As Martha runs around, Mary just sits and listens to what Jesus has to say.
The moral of the story seems clear: Slowing down and listening to Jesus is better than running around taking care of tasks that need to be done. And that’s not wrong, but it’s also a little confusing if taken on its own. Because there are a lot of times when Jesus taught that we should, you know, actually do stuff for each other. We can’t read the story of Martha and Mary as an excuse to sit around and avoid work.
But life is all about priorities. Life is about choosing what to focus on, how long to focus on it for, and how intently to pay attention. For some of us, it’s easy to go through a day without ever really paying much attention at all.
This story about Martha and Mary isn’t an excuse to be lazy. But it is a reminder of what the source of life and energy is. It is a warning about a life that misses out on the voice of Jesus. Let’s make today a day in which we—whether for an hour or for a minute—focus intently on what Jesus has to say.