May 19, 2012


Luke 10:38-42

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
—Luke 10:41-42


Martha was having a busy day. She was making an elaborate meal for Jesus and his followers. She was a gracious hostess, but her grace turned sour.

The story does not tell us that Martha was wrong to make a nice meal, but she was foolish to allow the preparation of the meal to sour her opportunity to be with Christ. She was so distracted and overwhelmed by her preparations that her desire to be hospitable backfired when she accused Christ of not caring about her plans.

I feel bad for Martha. Whenever I hear this story, it is told as though Martha should have imitated Mary, who just sat and listened. That may sound good, but it doesn’t always work well in life.

If I need to get something done, I want Martha on my side. We want people like Martha to serve on committees, lead Bible studies, and plan events. If everyone only sat and listened, much would be left undone.

Jesus was not teaching us that we should sit still and do nothing, but he does challenge us to reconsider our priorities so that we can be near him. If we are overwhelmed to the point that we become angry at God for not paying attention to our plans, we may need to reconsider the value of our ideas.

Lord, help me to set my priorities so that there is room for me to grow nearer to you. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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