Opening Prayer

Lord God, help me to get in tune with what you would say to me in your Word today. Holy Spirit, give me understanding and the will to act on what you teach me.

Read LUKE 10:38-42

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

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  1. Luke 10:42 Some manuscripts but only one thing is needed

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


‘Forth in your name, O Lord, I go, / my daily labor to pursue, / you, Lord, alone resolved to know / in all I think, or speak, or do.’1

Think Further

This simple story is often explained too simplistically. It is not just about hospitality, the Holy Spirit’s gift,2 which Jesus regularly enjoyed. In Luke’s gospel, this story of a woman determined to hear Jesus follows that of a male lawyer who only wanted to hear himself. Jesus knew this little household, although Lazarus seems absent. The women invited him in. Martha went to prepare the meal while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, the traditional pose in front of a rabbi, assuming the position of a male disciple. This annoyed Martha, who may have been just as upset about Mary’s posture than her lack of help in preparing the meal, thinking that Mary was being overfamiliar. Her criticism is not addressed to Mary but to Jesus – who, she asserts, should have said something about it. Her outburst contains four first- person pronouns (my, me, myself, me) as if she is affronted, even jealous. Jesus, however, accepted Mary’s role, thus inviting all women to be disciples. His response to Martha was far deeper than mere housework. Martha was letting herself get distracted and anxious. Her mental state was hampering her spiritual life.

Here were two very different women, whose spirituality would always be different, but who would love and follow Jesus in their own ways. On another day, Mary will anoint Jesus with perfumed oil and wipe his feet with her hair, an act which Jesus declared was preparing his body for death.3 Martha, always the practical one, met Jesus when he came to raise Lazarus while Mary stayed inside, mourning. John recorded Martha’s conversation with Jesus, which prompted one of his most important sayings, ‘I am the resurrection and the life’; Martha responded, as we all must: ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’4


May we not to be distracted from our Lord by the busyness of life, nor let our anxieties muffle God’s voice in our hearts and minds.

Closing prayer

Jesus, Bread of Life, with you, I will never go hungry or be thirsty. You offer me everything I need to be satisfied. Forgive me when I take you for granted or am distracted from coming to you.

Last Updated on November 14, 2023 by kingstar

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