Sitting down, my coffee mug in hand, opening my bible, “WAIT!” Jumping up, “I forgot to put the clothes in the dryer.” Coming back later, determined to finish this time. The phone rings. “Chit-chat, chit-chat.” Minutes later, “Bye.” Ok, now! Reaching for the bible again. Hearing the clock chime, “Oh my, I have to run.” Book closed.
Jesus is in the home of the sisters, Mary & Martha. Mary is found sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha, being the Martha Stewart of the day was in the kitchen working. Luke (chapter 10) describes Martha as being distracted by all the stuff, all the preparations.
It is interesting the way Luke narrates the scene, distracted. The word he chose (in the original language) is the only place this word appears in the N.T. It isn’t a soft quick glance the other way, it is a full on “over-occupied” in a different direction – distraction. It denotes the misplacement of cares and responsibility. Grammatically (geek alert) it is used in the passive voice, meaning: The action is emphasized rather than the subject of the sentence. Martha was DISTRACTED!
Mary, still sitting and listening “at the Lord’s feet” may get lost in our western mindset. “At the Lord’s feet” is an idiom* (see definition below). Paul used the same phrase when declaring he was found “at the feet of Gamaliel” (Acts 22:3) this phrase refers to a disciple studying at the feet of their Rabbi. So Mary was not sitting on the floor for lack of space at the table, indeed she (a woman, Rabbinical teaching was reserved primarily for men) was bold. She positioned herself as a disciple, focused and listening.
With Mary’s focus elsewhere Martha begins to complain, she urges Jesus to encourage Mary to help her. I love Jesus’ response, “Martha, Martha…” It doesn’t say it in print, but you can almost see the slight swaying of Jesus’ head as He repeats her name as to emphasize a deep sigh. He continues by stating she worries and gets upset about many things. However, her sister has chosen wisely, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it…” (v 42, NLT)
How easily we too are distracted with life, our cares, and responsibilities. If you are like me, at times I squirrel all over the place. I need to focus! Like Martha, we have great intentions and motives, after all she was preparing a meal for them all. Yet there is a call to be at Jesus’ feet. Setting aside what occupies our time, thoughts and attention. Learn of Him.
We need a planned positioning. What does that look like for you?
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
*An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a meaning that in most cases is specific to a culture or time period. Example: “It is all up in the air as to who won the race.” Folks from another culture may begin looking up due to lack of understanding.