And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I have heard this passage many times before. The sermons usually center around being a Mary not a Martha. It wasn't until a day or two ago that I first read this story in its context. It was a context that intrigued me and made me realize that maybe we are preaching the wrong approach.
It is very important to spend time at the feet of our King. It is very important to have a time of devotional fellowship with Him. To fail to do so will cause harm to our Christian life or stunt our growth. The problem comes when we believe that the only position of the believer is sitting in front of Jesus.
The story immediately preceding this is the story of a Good Samaritan. While Martha was encumbered by service, this man honored God through his service. Before that story, Christ informs people that inheriting eternal life comes not only from loving God but from loving our neighbors as well.
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
The story of Mary and Martha is demonstrating that there is a time to love the Lord. The story of the good Samaritan is that there is a time to love others. No life is healthy if only ever spent at His feet. If all we do is draw closer to God and love God without expressing that love to others, we are empty. Our life is only half full. There is a time to rest, and we can't judge each other for resting, but there is also a time to serve.