Well, it’s not just my house; my sister, Mary, and I live in Bethany together. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem when they passed through our town. This is where keeping a tidy house has its advantages: As soon as I saw them, I knew I wanted them to stay at my house… and I knew that my house was ready to have them. So I was the first one to wave them down, and there you have it: Jesus stayed at my house.
Now, I’m good at keeping house, but still – it’s not as though I have a meal for 13 sitting on the table. And besides, this is JESUS the CHRIST we’re talking about! Clearly this is the time to go the extra mile. So I get them settled and comfortable in the living room, and then I rush off to prepare: The good china, the cloth napkins, that complicated recipe I only pull out for special occasions… I’m going all out. I want Jesus to be really impressed with how we do things at my – I mean, our house.
After I’ve worked up a good sweat, it dawns on me that all these preparations are taking a little longer than usual. I walk by the doorway that leads to the living room, and I see… Mary, my sister, sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening like she’s one of the disciples or something. And, I’ll admit it; I lose it. I mean, our wholes lives Mary has been slacking off, daydreaming when she’s supposed to be cleaning, and I can’t take it anymore. I start to yell at Mary… but at the last minute, I don’t yell at Mary.
I may have yelled at Jesus. Let’s say, I talked very loudly at Jesus. I say something like, “Jesus, don’t you see that I’m in here doing all the work by myself? Tell my sister to get up and help me!”
Jesus just gave me this quiet smile, which pretty much told me he wasn’t going to agree with me.
“Martha, Martha,” he said. “Why are you so worked up? Some things in life are more important than others. Mary has chosen what’s most important right now.”
I don’t say a word. I turn around, go back into the kitchen, and go back to my cooking. At first, I’m furious. By the time I’m putting the food on the table, I’m just confused. And when we sit down and eat and I start listening to Jesus’ stories, I start to realize that Jesus was probably right.
Even worse: My sister was probably right.
Here I was, so excited to have Jesus in my house – and I was so intent on giving him a perfect meal in a perfect home, that I wasn’t really spending any time with him. How many chances will I get to sit at his feet and listen?
Some things are more important than others.
Sometimes, the most important thing is to sit and listen.