Good Shepherd Lutheran

Missing the Real Point – Luke 10:38-42

Most of us know the story of Martha and Mary. Jesus arrives at their home unannounced with the twelve disciples in tow. Martha, who seems like the Jewish version of Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart rolled into one, immediately jumps into action cooking and cleaning and preparing for the crowd sitting in her living room. 

But while Martha is sweating all the details of entertaining, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet listening and learning, hanging on his every word. That was just fine with Jesus and the disciples, but not so much with Martha. Martha resented her sister because she felt abandoned. She felt all the work had been pushed into her lap while Mary took it easy. 

But there’s more going on here than just sibling rivalry. In trying to serve the Lord, Martha missed the real point. She lost her connection with the Lord. She became burdened, worked up and distracted over a lot of unimportant things. And the work became more important than the Lord himself.

Even when you’re working for the Lord, that work can become self-centered if it isn’t done in love. The focus for Martha was no longer about having a relationship with the Lord. The focus for her was doing stuff.

Jesus tells us that we’re all invited to choose for ourselves what’s ultimately most important to us. But sometimes our focus on serving can keep us distracted from a relationship with God. As Max Lucado says, “God is more pleased with the quiet attention of a sincere servant than the noisy service of a sour one.”

There are times in our lives when we can look holy and even act holy, but if that action isn’t centered in our relationship with the Lord, something’s missing. It’s that relationship that validates everything else.

Here are some things to think about. Do you have a list of unnecessary things that lead you to neglect the important stuff? With everything that’s going on in your life, when was the last time you had that ‘one thing’ that Mary had? When was the last time you sat at the Lord’s feet and just listened to His Word?

Maybe you’ve been walking right past the living room and into the kitchen because you were too busy doing things for Jesus while ignoring his company. Maybe we’ve neglected the one thing that’s truly necessary because of a thousand other unnecessary things.

Jesus is saying our name twice, just like he did with Martha. He’s probably even adding our middle name, like Mom used to do, because he’s trying to get our attention. He wants to spend time with us. He wants to build a relationship with us. He’s calling us to sit down at his feet and just listen. But we’ve failed to hear him because we’re too busy obsessing over details and missing the real point.