“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42 NIV
Jesus’ words jumped out at me… only one thing is needed… Mary has chosen what was better.
Martha was serving. Wasn’t that good? Didn’t that count?
Mary was sitting and listening. Why is that better?
Convinced there was more, I looked up the passages in the Greek. Immediately, I understood why Mary’s stillness was better.
The Lord Jesus said that Martha’s preparations left her distracted and worried. The word “distracted” in the Greek is perispaó meaning to be drawn away. The word “worried” is merimnaó meaning to be pulled apart in different directions.
Martha was drawn away from Jesus. The worries of serving divided her heart. It led her out of God’s presence and pulled her apart.
Mary sat and listened. “Sat” is parakathizo meaning to sit down near. The word “listened” is akouó. Figuratively, the essence of akouó is hearing the voice of God which gives faith.
Mary drew near to Him. She was in God’s presence and hearing His voice. Not only is that better, it is eternal. It is a picture of what is to come in heaven--being in God’s presence 24/7. What is eternal cannot be taken away.
Girls, it’s good to be doers. James says so. However, in Matthew 6 and in Luke 8, Jesus says that worrying and fretting choke out His Word. The Word is what brings us into His presence, changes us and readies us for service.
So… how do we sit and do without being drawn and quartered? Mother Teresa speaks on balancing, abiding and serving in her book The Simple Path.
Her way is simple. It is based on Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all of the rest will be added unto you.”
She and the Sisters of Charity put this verse into action by practicing these five things in this order: Silence, Prayer, Faith, Love and Service. One pours out into the next.
In the silence of the heart, God speaks. When you hear God speak, you know how to pray. When you pray God’s will, you see prayers answered. This builds your faith and trust in Him. As you hear Him, speak to Him and trust Him, your love for Him grows and abounds. You then love what and whom He loves. When you love like Him, you know where and how to serve Him without distraction.
Spirit: Pray for God to speak to you; then listen for 5 minutes in silence.
Mind: Find a place where there is no one, no noise and no phones. Quiet your mind and focus on the name of Jesus for 5 minutes.
Body: Sit still and practice breathing with your eyes closed for 5 minutes. Take deep breaths while you imagine the Holy Spirit refilling your lungs. Exhale smoothly all of the stress, worries and frets of the day.
Lord, help me. I am constantly moving and in a tizzy. Help me to calm down and draw near to You. I want to come to You. I pray that I can still my mind, heart and schedule. Help me hear Your voice in the silence. Help me pray Your will be done. Help me have faith and trust You. Help me love You with all of my heart and soul. Prepare me and put me in service as a vessel to pour out in Your Name. Amen.