By Sister Marianne Ferguson
As they continued their journey, Jesus and His disciples entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister, named Mary, who sat beside the Lord at His feet, listening to Him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do all the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need for only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Picture a living room, filled with people sitting on the floor, listening to a man who is speaking and explaining the Word of God. Martha is missing out on this great opportunity because she is busy preparing a meal for the guests. Perhaps we have had a similar experience when the one we counted on to help us would rather stay with the company to enjoy their conversation. Jesus calls Martha by name twice, which indicates a person is in a close relationship with God; for example Simon, Simon, and Nathan, Nathan.
Luke’s entire gospel is focused on spreading the Kingdom of God and he used Martha and Mary to show how it could be done. This story is between Luke’s gospel about the Good Samaritan —the man who saved the life of a robbery victim and Jesus teaching the disciples to pray The Our Father. One stressed service and the other prayer. Martha and Mary are the models of service and prayer — the ways to further the Kingdom of God.
You would expect that the natural outcome of prayer, which is an expression of our relation to God, to overflow into service of others. It can be helpful to know that we have the assistance of the supernatural when trying to accomplish difficult tasks. When we try to discern the motives for our actions prayer can help us to grow in self-knowledge. So let us remember the example of Martha and Mary as we pray and try to engage in selfless service to others.