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  "But the Lord answered her, "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 20:36-37


Sermon Excerpt: Focus on Christ, Luke 10:38-42 Rev. F. Schaefer

Reading the story of Martha and Mary makes you wonder what is going on. Martha, after all, has invited Jesus into her home. So, isn’t it common curtsey to provide a guest with food and care? Yes it is. In fact, Martha has a very good point when she complains about Mary not helping her out. After all, Martha is serving Jesus. What more can you do? She is serving the Lord himself. And yet, Jesus commends Mary over Martha, for just sitting at his feet.

On first reading, the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense; so we need to dig a little bit deeper to see what's going on here. Let's see: Jesus is saying "there is need of only one thing." What thing? What is that one thing Mary had or was doing that Martha didn't?

O.k. so Martha was doing her thing in the kitchen and the dining room, what was Mary doing? She sat at the table with Jesus and the disciples; eating, drinking; enjoying the fellowship, listening to Jesus; perhaps asking him questions.

If that's the "one thing that is needed" then that's not very difficult to do is it? To be honest with you, I would much rather be in the dining room with Jesus and the disciples than in the kitchen and serving people. Does that mean that I am already on a higher spiritual plane? I don't know.

Some scholars suggested that here in the story of Martha and Mary we have a display of two different kinds of spiritual paths--service and devotion. Like Martha, some people feel most fulfilled spiritually if they can do things for God and for others. On the other hand, like Mary, some people feel most fulfilled spiritually if they can study the bible or spend time in prayer--do devotions...Subscribers: click here for the full sermon and more