Mary looked at her greater need—that of her heart-emptiness. Martha kept herself busy with everyday doings. It’s not that Martha didn’t have the capacity for deep, heart matters; it is that Mary chose the better thing. Here, today, now, the God of better things calls us. Will we trust that if He who doesn’t let two sparrows fall to the ground without consent, that he won’t also look after weightier matters? Will we not by the law of attraction fall in love with this God? If not immediately, then gradually by the slow realization that He is all good, all fair, and all caring? And conversely, if He takes care of the bigger, better things, will He overlook any minute and fine detail? Do we not take lesson from observing the works of master craftspeople? That they who will see the overarching vision will not also see the smallest consequence? Fear not! This God is mightier, and the king of kings and craftspeople alike. And to add to this, His love never fails. He is perfect in every way.
Does a lover’s attention to detail ever fail? Not unless he begins to bore of his beloved. But if he has met his eternal soul’s desire? Nothing is jaded. Nothing is stale. Nothing in him will ever fail. It is God’s desire that we raise our hearts to ask for Him and Him alone. That heart-deep desire, our long-neglected and most forlorn desire, that is what he wants us to seek after. Him. That’s why He says He is the alpha and omega. That’s why He says these three abide, faith, hope, and love. That’s why He sanctioned Mary’s appreciation of His personhood. He rebuked Martha not because she was not high-minded enough. He rebuked her because He was in the room, and, yet, she did not see Him. If she saw Him, she would have hastily sat at His feet, too, or at least she would have longed to.
Was Martha wrong? The Lord Jesus says, Mary has chosen the better thing, and ensured it would not be taken away from her. Not on His watch, which is eternal. In that sense Martha was innocent in that she was only being human, perhaps we might think. But in the terms of the account, Martha acted as the subtle advocate for the Devil. Mary is needed in the kitchen so the Lord can be fed. It is an assault on the Lord Jesus as well. He had to respond, though kindly, knowing Martha’s frailty was in her stoutness. If He crushed that quality, he would crush all. Instead he pierced her soul. We can see He went to the heart of the matter, the heart of Martha’s concern. She does not know she also needs to tend to her heart, and so the Lord helps awaken that. What we don’t see is her reaction. There is no mention of repentant tears and exuberance. The story is silent. However, the Easter tale tells of Martha going to tend to the Lord’s body. But the resurrected Christ does not appear to her first, but to Mary. Mary, thus, is chosen by the Lord of the living because of her faith and love, and not because of her duty. Apparently or perhaps, it is possible that Martha has not learned her lesson yet. So we see that we are chosen not by duty, but by our faith and longing for the eternal Messiah. That is why those on their deathbeds can still turn to God, if we do not cut them short. That is why crying out to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will save us from Hell. That is why sight never proved worthy of the walk of faith. What counts is what comes from within, and not simply by tending to duties or to outward appearances. It frees us from the oppression of duty in relationships. The contrast between Mary and Martha is a perennial contrast. It is repeated every generation, in virtually every family, amongst many a brethren. It occurs even within our own journey to faith. It is a reminder that not only can we be real, but that being authentic is the only pathway to God. ~V
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