Work not as important as The Word

By Judy Brandon: Local columnist

What if you are having several people over for Sunday dinner? Women, are you concerned with the rolls and dessert or do you want just to visit with your guests? It seems trivial but let me explain.

Among the many characters mentioned in Bible passages that chronicle the week before Jesus’ crucifixion is an account of the lives of two sisters, Mary and Martha. In fact, Jesus stopped at their house for supper several days before the Friday he was crucified.

The friendship with Martha, Mary and their brother Lazarus was not a new friendship. This family who lived in Bethany had been touched by Jesus in a life-changing way because he raised their brother Lazarus from the dead. But the Bible describes the two sisters and how they were different.

Martha enjoyed having people over and entertaining. She prepared tasty meals and probably was an excellent housekeeper. Martha had the wonderful privilege of serving Jesus a meal in her home just days before the crucifixion. Hospitably was her gift and because she wanted things to run smoothly, she probably put herself under great pressure to make sure all went according to plan.

We know this because when Jesus arrived, she reprimanded Mary for not helping her in the kitchen. For Martha, the most important thing was the meal and she wanted others to pitch in and help.

But sister Mary was the opposite. The Bible notes Mary was “just sitting at Jesus’ feet” or, in other words, she was just sitting quietly and listening to him talk.

Mary didn’t worry about the meal or if things would be ready on time. She just wanted to sit and listen to Jesus. She wanted to hear what he had to say. She wanted to learn from him. She probably thought of nothing else but just listening to Jesus and therefore was oblivious to the rolls, the meat or the dessert.

So the day Jesus came to their house in Bethany, Martha was nervous that the meal would not go off as planned while Mary was just talking to Jesus. Martha wanted her to help get supper on the table. Mary wanted to learn from Jesus. Martha served and Mary listened.

Do we still have Marys and Marthas today? Of course we do. Some just want to be doing. It is the activity they seek. On the other hand, some just want to sit and listen.

Many people have good thoughts about Jesus. They attend church and are hard at work being busy in the church. But the whole point was that Martha was missing the thing that would last and Jesus tenderly told her that. Martha was missing nurturing a relationship with Christ and that was the most important thing. She was too caught up in activity.

This Easter season think about Martha and Mary. Are we servers or listeners? Are we more concerned with our schedules or the time we set aside with the Savior? Are we more caught up in day-to-day living, or are we listening for that still, small voice?

The message of the resurrection of Christ is that we have a living Savior who loves us and knows our needs. Don’t get so caught up in the busy work, no matter how good that work might be, that you don’t hear his voice.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: