I have read dozens of articles and sermons and blogs on this short story from Luke about the sisters Mary and Martha. They all seem to concentrate on the differences between the two types of people who invite Jesus into their lives. When they write about it, even though they try to lessen the spiritual burden on Martha and he doppelgangers in life, they come down on the side of Mary and sitting at the feet of Jesus, and they cause division among the readers. Most of the writers confess that they resent Mary and are really like Martha or vice versa!
I feel they are all missing the point. Jesus is not saying that Mary’s approach is better, nor is he being misogynistic. I think Jesus is speaking to those of us who simply, WORRY; whether it is about serving guests, preparing meals, keeping the house clean, doing our fair share or anything else we find ourselves worrying about.
This is a story about worry and how to address it, not about the role of women, and not about the social gospel vs. Evangelization, and not about different personality types, and it is not to settle arguments about the importance of worship over work days at the church!
It is about WORRY! And it gives us insight into how to address the many worries we face in our lives. Believe me, there is not a child of God alive who doesn’t worry. But there are too many children of God who think that “If I am not worried, I don’t care about the importance of what I am worried about (be that oneself or another’s safety).
Let me quote something that Jesus said earlier in his ministry from the Sermon of the Mount…
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying ADD A SINGLE HOUR TO YOUR SPAN OF LIFE? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? Therefore, do not worry, saying “what will we eat?” or “what will we wear?” For it is the gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But STRIVE FIRST FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, and all these things will be given to you as well.
So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today! Matthew 6: 25-34