ODJ: is Mary really right?

January 12, 2016 

READ: Luke 10:38-42 

But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing (v.40).

When I was in seventh grade, my math teacher showed me two separate lines that had arrows at their ends. One had the arrows pointed inward like this: >-<. The other had the arrows pointed outward like this: <->. My teacher asked me which of the two lines was longer and I answered that it was the one with the arrows pointed inward. He took out a ruler and measured them, showing me that they were identical in length! I took another look and— despite my teacher having just proved that they were the same length—stubbornly clung to the belief that my answer had been the right one.

I feel the same way whenever I read about Mary and Martha. Jesus makes it clear that what Mary chose to do was better at the time (Luke 10:41-42). But no small part of me still disagrees, believing that it was Martha who was the better and harder-working sister (v.40). Why would Jesus say that Mary was in the right? Wasn’t Martha being diligent?

There are many ways to understand Jesus’ answer, but one of the most convincing explanations comes when He says Martha was too “distracted” by all the preparations. The work she was doing was not evil in itself, but that work was keeping her from doing the one thing she needed to do—something that all believers in Jesus are called to do—spend time with Jesus.

I rarely look at spending time with Jesus in this light—as being the most important thing I’m called to do. But this practice shouldn’t be surprising because, in the account of the transfiguration from Matthew 17, God the Father instructs us to do one thing and one thing alone: Listen to Jesus! (v.5). By His power, may we tune out the distractions today and spend time with Him!

—Peter Chin

365-day-plan: Genesis 21:8-21

Read Matthew 7:24-27 to see what it means to spend time with Jesus and do what He says. 
Why is it important for you to spend time with Jesus? What are some practical ways you can do so throughout the day?