In the Gospel of Luke, we read the story of sisters Mary and Martha. Martha opens her home to Jesus and the disciples. She works hard to prepare her home and food for the guests. Martha’s approach to service is that work needs to be done. But Martha gets herself into trouble with her perspective on that work. She asks Jesus to make Mary help her. Jesus offers a different take: “…Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
I don’t think Jesus told Martha this to diminish the value of the hard work she’d put into hosting everyone. Much of that work needed doing. But Jesus doesn’t tell Martha to sit down and be like Mary, either. Instead, he tells her that she need not focus so much on her on worry. Jesus’ words remind her and us that the work we must do – and the needs we must meet – are important, but temporary.
This message is excerpted from “God’s time” by Rebecca Eve Schweitzer in the October 2020 Gather magazine. Today is Labor Day in the United States.
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