Main point summary
It is easy to be anxious and distracted about many good things, and miss out on the one most necessary thing, which is to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to his Word.
Now as they went on their way,
Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι
Jesus 1 entered a village.
αὐτοὺς αὐτὸς εἰσῆλθεν εἰς κώμην τινά•
And a woman named b Martha c welcomed him into her house.
γυνὴ δέ τις ὀνόματι Μάρθα ὑπεδέξατο αὐτόν.
And she had a sister called b Mary,
καὶ τῇδε ἦν ἀδελφὴ καλουμένη Μαριάμ,
who d sat at the Lord’s feet
[ἣ] καὶ παρακαθεσθεῖσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας τοῦ κυρίου
and listened to his teaching.
ἤκουεν τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ.
But Martha was distracted with much serving.
ἡ δὲ Μάρθα περιεσπᾶτο περὶ πολλὴν διακονίαν•
And she went up to him and said,
ἐπιστᾶσα δὲ εἶπεν•
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
κύριε, οὐ μέλει σοι ὅτι ἡ ἀδελφή μου μόνην με κατέλιπεν διακονεῖν;
Tell her then to help me.”
εἰπὲ οὖν αὐτῇ ἵνα μοι συναντιλάβηται.
But the Lord answered her,
ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῇ ὁ κύριος•
“Martha, Martha, you are e anxious and troubled about many things,
Μάρθα Μάρθα, μεριμνᾷς καὶ θορυβάζῃ περὶ πολλά,
but one thing is necessary. 1
ἑνὸς δέ ἐστιν χρεία•
Mary has chosen f the good portion,
Μαριὰμ γὰρ τὴν ἀγαθὴν μερίδα ἐξελέξατο
which will not be taken away from her.”
ἥτις οὐκ ἀφαιρεθήσεται αὐτῆς.
I realize that, technically, this should be labelled Question-Answer. But Situation-Response seems to better capture what's going on here. We'd naturally expect Jesus to get Mary to help. The Lord's response is wonderfully surprising and counter-intuitive.
Though it's not the point of the text, an argument can be made for a simpler form of hospitality that frees us up to spend more time with the ones we invite into our homes.
While the food and dishes and "portions" that Martha presented to the guests would eventually be withdrawn, the "portion" Mary received from Jesus would not.
Even service to others, as good and important as it is, can distract us from being with Jesus!
Luke 10:38-42 ESV
Martha and Mary 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus 1 entered a village. And a woman named b Martha c welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called b Mary, who d sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are e anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. 1 Mary has chosen f the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”