But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” Luke 10:40
Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem when they went through Martha’s village. Martha had the gift of hospitality. She loved to host a party. And so I imagine she insisted that Jesus and the disciples come to her home for dinner. When they arrived, Martha was already in the kitchen making sure everything would be just right for her guests. But her sister, Mary, had different gifts. Mary was passionate, social, friendly, and energetic. She had to be where the people were. But more than anything else, Mary just had to be with Jesus. And so that is exactly where Martha found Mary that day, sitting at the feet of Jesus while she was slaving away in the kitchen preparing the meal for everyone to enjoy.
This is when Martha did what we all do far too often. She judged Mary. Martha saw a task to be done, used the talents she had been given by God to honor Jesus, and then assumed that Mary was not using the talents she had been given by God to honor Jesus. You see, we often think everyone around us needs to be doing the same thing in the same way in the same time as we are doing. After all, the meal needed to be prepared, the table set, and a hundred other jobs completed before Jesus could eat. Martha, however, failed to see that we each have been gifted by God to lift up Jesus in our own way and with our own gifts. That day Mary was using her gifts to care for the emotional needs of Jesus while Martha was supplying His physical needs. And so we read in the very next verses, “But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Too many times I judge the commitment to Jesus that others have based upon whether they are utilizing the gifts God has given to me. I fall into the same trap as did Martha in this story. I think that everyone else needs to be doing what I am doing for Jesus, or at least helping me do it. But this is actually wrong, perhaps even a sin! Why? Because in that moment I am judging. And Jesus tells me never to judge others. So the next time you are tempted to criticize, dare I say judge, another person for not doing ministry in the way you think they should be doing it, think about Jesus’ words to Martha. And then ask yourself if you are really concerned about the only thing worth being concerned about. Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus?