Choosing Worship Over Worry

… Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41

Two weeks ago I was one kid away from being an empty nester, but Covid-19 changed everything. My daughters fled their big cities and hunkered down at home. Suddenly there’s more cooking, laundry, dishes . . . more everything.

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They help out, but I’d gotten used to (and enjoyed!) the slower pace of life. I’m happy they’re safe but frequently find myself going into “Martha mode.”

Martha was one of Jesus’ close friends. She owned a house in the village of Bethany, which was about two miles from Jerusalem.  One day Jesus and his disciples stopped by.

The Bible doesn’t tell us if she anticipated the visit, but we can tell by the story that she flew into a tizzy. Though the passage is only eight sentences long, the story is legendary.

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

I can relate. Has stress ever made you cranky and bossy?

I love Jesus’ response because it highlights his approachability and gentleness. He assessed the situation and cut to the heart of the matter — Martha’s priorities were out of whack .

The Greek word for distracted is perispao and means: to be so overburdened by various distractions as to be worried and anxious.

By contrast, Mary’s posture was one of worship. In those days, women weren’t always able to learn. Rather, they’d be excluded from discipleship and expected to learn from male relatives or husbands. But Jesus welcomed Mary’s devotion.

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I often wonder if Martha listened. Jesus told her that Mary had chosen the “good portion.” In other words, she had two options: she could continue in frustration or take a seat in his presence.

Either way, his words tell us what’s truly necessary. When life or change makes us feel overburdened and worried, we can choose to stop and sit with him.

What are the things that throw your priorities out of whack?