The story of Mary and Martha is one that Christians are often very familiar with. People tend to draw quite a few conclusions from what is a famous story, but one that actually only covers five verses of Luke’s Gospel! We see Mary sat by Jesus’ feet. And her sister Martha ‘distracted’; running around preparing the house.
I think the core of this story is found through what Luke describes as Martha’s ‘distraction’. Is Martha expressing generosity in opening her home to Jesus? Sure. So why did Jesus politely admonish her for looking to prepare the house, and probably a meal, in the best way she felt she could? Is Jesus questioning Martha’s generosity? Or more likely, Martha’s priorities?
Sometimes, we might be so focused on doing, and giving, that we might let our busy lives get in the way of just spending time with Jesus and understanding why we do what we do, and give what we give, in the first place. When we talk about giving our time, and even giving our money, is it more important to focus on the why, or the what?
Serving is a good thing, but what Mary did is better. She sat at Jesus’ feet. Mary understood that what the house looked like and the quality of what she could offer him did not matter as much as her attention, which should always be her number one priority – her focus on Jesus. She looks to Jesus to learn and to understand his priorities. And when we have sat at Jesus’ feet, understood his priorities for our lives, we can then understand the focus of our opportunities to give in the right ways. We can then live our generous lives to full, by living as Jesus has taught us. We, like Mary, must remember what is most important: Jesus.
In what ways can I prioritise my relationship with Jesus, in order for him to guide me to a deeper understanding of generosity?