We've been looking at Martha's failure to listen to Christ as He taught in her home. Let's take one more look at this powerful passage. There are still a couple more pearls hidden in it that are just too good to pass up.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:38-42).
The Lord made an important statement to Martha, telling her that only a few things are really necessary in life. So far so good. Food, water, shelter from the elements, oxygen - the list of essentials really is short. Then He dropped the bombshell: "Really only one."
He had me, then He lost me.
I'm ready to admit that many of my "essentials" in life really are not. Most are for comfort, pleasure, or personal satisfaction. But the seemingly absurd claim that only one thing in life is really necessary is rather hard to swallow. But Jesus said it, and we have to deal with it.
Connecting the statement to Mary's decision to sit at the Lord's feet and listen to His words makes His meaning rather obvious. Here's my opinion of what Jesus meant: "Martha, if you will truly connect with Me, everything else in life will fall into place. Order will be established; relationships will make sense; I'll guide your steps into purpose and destiny; I'll teach you to prosper - everything will work well if you'll simply listen to Me. All you really need to do in order to enjoy a successful and enjoyable life is listen to Me. The pleasure of My company will also be the source of your success, fulfillment, and well-being."
Astounding, incredible, wonderful, generous...and simple. Yet life gets complicated. The pace quickens, the to-do list grows, and the Martha side of our nature kicks in. The voice of the Master is then drowned out by the pace of life. When this occurs, and it will, the solution is to return to the simple strategy of Mary: sit and listen. Let's look again at what the apostle Paul said of the Corinthian Church: "I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the SIMPLICITY and purity of devotion to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3, emphasis mine) Life truly can be complicated, but relationship with Jesus isn't.