One weekend in March, I led a retreat on the theme of Mary and Martha, the sisters in Bethany whom Jesus loved along with their brother Lazarus (John 11:5). We were in a remote spot along the English coastline. When we were snowed in unexpectedly, many of the participants remarked how the extra day together meant they could practice sitting at Christ’s feet as Mary did. They wanted to pursue the “one thing . . . needed” (Luke 10:42 nkjv) that Jesus lovingly told Martha she should embrace, which was choosing to draw close and learn from Him.
When Jesus visited the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, Martha wouldn’t have known He was coming in advance, so we can understand how she could have been upset with Mary for not helping with the preparations to feed Him and His friends. But she lost sight of what really mattered—receiving from Jesus as she learned from Him. Christ wasn’t scolding her for wanting to serve Him but rather reminding her that she was missing the most important thing.
When interruptions make us irritable or we feel overwhelmed about the many things we want to accomplish, we can stop and remind ourselves what really matters in life. As we slow ourselves down, picturing ourselves sitting at the feet of Jesus, we can ask Him to fill us with His love and life. We can revel in being His beloved disciple.