In Luke, chapter ten, verses 38-42, we read:
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
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.
We often have this scripture quoted to us to remind us of the importance of taking the time to study the word of the Lord and to not get so caught up in cares that we forget the things that are truly important. This scripture is a wonderful reminder of that. I have to admit, though, that every time I hear it, I think, “But wasn’t Jesus hungry? Yes, Martha could have taken a seat and listened as well, but when Jesus was done preaching, wouldn’t He have liked something to eat?” We know that Jesus was very poor while He was on the earth, and many of His meals came from His followers. Martha would know He had been on the road for some time and would need something to eat.
Following this line of reasoning, I’ve always stood up for Martha a little bit, internally. She certainly couldn’t let her Savior go hungry, and so she was preparing to feed him. There’s nothing wrong with that, certainly.
The last time I read this scripture, however, I noticed the word “cumbered.” She was cumbered about much serving. The word “cumbered” in this instance means “burdened.” Ah – suddenly the light began to dawn.
Martha wanted to create a marvelous meal for the Savior. She was probably in the kitchen mixing spices and basting the meat, kneading the bread and pouring the wine. With so many pots and kettles and dishes, certainly she needed Mary’s help to pull off the spectacular display. When Christ spoke to her, gently as I’m sure He did, I think He was trying to tell her that it was all right to serve Him something simple. She didn’t need to go all out for Him – He would be content with some good bread and maybe some warm soup.
I can clearly see the similarities between myself and Martha. Whenever we have a baptism, a baby blessing, a holiday or even just company over for dinner, I stress myself out. I want to make everything from scratch. I slave and mix and measure for hours so that when my company partakes of the food, they’ll be impressed with my marvelous housekeeping skills. But my preparations put me so out of sorts, I can’t enjoy the event. The best large meals I’ve ever served at my home are the ones that contained the simple foods which allowed me to enjoy my guests and not fret about the meal. When I’m not cumbered about much serving, I can relax and hear conversations and get reconnected.
Yes, your guests need to eat. But like Christ, they would rather have you than your twelve-course meal, made from scratch. Give them your heart. Give Christ your heart. That’s what He really wants.