38 While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. 40 By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”
41 The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. 42 One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.” – Luke 10: 38-41
I have two children. I wish I had a dollar for each time they accused my wife and I of being unfair. I get it. I grew up with two older brothers, so I understand from my kids perspective how life seems unfair. Well, yes, it is. While we want things to be fair, from our ego-centric perspective, life is rarely if ever fair.
And isn’t that Martha’s plea to Jesus in Luke 10: 40? I’m doing all the work. It’s not fair.
In the midst of her busyness and business and hard work, life seems unfair.
Like he does frequently, Jesus uses this as a teaching moment. He turns her argument about fairness in a completely different direction. He points to the bigger picture and the window of opportunity to sit at Jesus feet and learn about God, life, and love.
Jesus says one thing is necessary. What is “necessary” is not our hard work and good morals, although those are good things. What’s “necessary” is to spend time with The Lord when we have the chance. As the writer of Ecclesiastes points out:
There’s a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens:
It’s not a question of fairness. It’s a question of time. Do you know what time it is? Time to work or time to learn? Time to do or time to be? Time for business or time for play? Time to get to it and get things done or time to rest and relax?
Mary knew what time it was. Martha almost missed it. Do you know what time it is?
Prayer: Lord, help me know what time it is. Is it time to work, time to learn, time to play, time to serve, or time to rest? Amen.
Note: This understanding of this passage was influenced by a class lecture when I was studying under Dr. Mark Allen Powell