Choosing The Best Part

Photo by Alex Woods on Unsplash

Luke 10:38-42 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. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 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. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


I’ve often heard these words spoken over the last 25 years I have been in ministry. The words are uttered by sincere people seeking to “fix” something. As humans, we love to “fix” things. It started with Adam in the Garden of Eden. When he discovered that eating of the forbidden “opened his eyes”, the very first thing Adam did was “fix” it. He made aprons of fig leaves (Genesis 3:7). It didn’t help.

Our efforts never help. But we feel that we must “do something”. The Bible says:

Psalm 127:1 (ESV) Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.

I understand the “We’ve got to do SOMETHING” mentality. I read an article the other day written by the Executive Editor of Christian Post, Richard D. Land. The article was entitled “How badly have we lost our way?”. A quote:

“… The moral compass of a significant number of our fellow citizens has been desensitized and demagnitized… somewhere along the way, America veered seriously off course and we are now confronted with a collapse into full-blown paganism. … I have seldom been both as shocked and saddened as I was after reading the Rev. Rebecca Todd Peters op-ed in USA Today, “Faith Guided Our Decision on 2 Abortions”. Rev. Peters identifies herself as a Presbyterian minister. … The Rev. Peters also states that she is a “wife and a mother of two” and that she has “also had two abortions”. She immediately follows this by asserting, ‘I did not make my abortion decision despite my Christian identity and faith, but rather because of it.’”

I have no doubt that she is sincere. You can be sincere, and be wrong. When rebuking Jesus for saying He had to go to the Cross, Jesus told Peter:

Matthew 16:23 (ESV) …. “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a hindrance to Me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Peter was no doubt sincere, but wrong. Pastor John Piper notes how the moral fabric of America has changed in just a few years. He notes, “ten years ago, recreational cannabis was illegal in all fifty states”. At present, 37 states have legalized medical-use of Marijuana, and in 15 states you can use it recreationally. John goes on to note:

Now stop and think of the number of behaviors that were once illegal and are no more. Divorce was once illegal. Adultery and fornication were illegal. Homosexual practices were illegal. Indecency was illegal, in such a way that what’s considered acceptable in movies and on beaches today would have been forbidden. Sabbath-breaking was illegal. Abortion was illegal in every state.”

As William Barclay notes, “{Man} has so erected an altar to himself in the center of things that he worships himself to the exclusion of God and man”. We could say the same thing about America today. The Church is falling. Our society is falling. In a panic, I along with you think, “I’ve GOT to do something”.

The Mary Mentality Waits Upon Jesus

Luke 10:38 Now it came to pass, as they{Jesus and His disciples} went, that he entered into a certain village {Bethany}: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

Jesus goes to Bethany with His disciples to pay a visit to a family He had never been with. He was going to visit with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This family had heard about Jesus, and Jesus was coming to their home. Actually, Jesus was coming to Martha’s house. That’s what we read:

a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

Martha was the owner of the home.
Mary was a resident in Martha’s home.

The fame of Jesus had gone throughout that whole area. Jesus is coming! Now Jesus is on the front stoop, knocking on the door. Martha thinks, “I’d better DO something”. But where is Mary’s mind? We read:

Luke 10:39-40And she {Martha} had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha….

This is the first time that Mary met Jesus. This is NOT the same Mary called Magdalene, out of whom {Jesus cast out} seven devils” (Luke 8:2). the name “Mary Magdalene” literally means “Mary of Magdala”, that is, she lived in Magdala in Galilee. The Mary now sitting at Jesus’ feet is “Mary of Bethany, which is in the province of Judea. Mary DID Something!

  1. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, a place we all need to be. She RESTED.
  2. Mary heard his word. She listened to what He said. The word heard is the Greek ἀκούω akoúō, {pronounced ak-oo’-o}, which means “to give audience to, to focus on and hear”. Mary was doing as the Gospel demands. Jesus said in another place:

Matthew 11:27-30 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The only way you can know of God the Father is through Jesus Christ. And NO ONE knows Jesus Christ completely BUT the Father. This is what Jesus said. Jesus says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest”. Rest for the soul is in Jesus. Put your body at His feet. Hear Him, and do as He says. Cast your hurt and suffering on Him. Jesus said “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me”. Jesus is Lord! Jesus is Lord! Let Him put His yoke upon you. This is what God wants us to DO.

A Christian Is Saved By Sitting At Christ’s Feet.
A Christian Grows By Sitting At Christ’s Feet.

We as Christians are to DO, not SOMETHING, but WHAT JESUS SAID DO. Mary did not rush about cleaning the home and cooking the meal. Mary was not trying to impress Jesus with her works. So many of us try to do this. We try to do SOMETHING because OTHERS are looking at us. We want to do SOMETHING because we sincerely want to please our Lord.

But we must first rest at His feet. We must let Jesus be Lord. This is what Mary is doing. Jesus is Lord, so she sits at His feet and waits, and listens. She “learns of Jesus”.

God wants His Kingdom to expand upon the earth. He wants us to DO – but only WHEN He says. At the beginning of this chapter we are told:

Luke 10:1-2 After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. 2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.

After these things – after Jesus fed 5000 with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread; after Jesus stood on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses and Elijah, the Lord appointed other seventy. Jesus had His 12 original Apostles, and appointed 70 men to go out 2 by 2 to spread the Gospel. What was Jesus doing?

Word Study: When Moses was raised up by God, each tribe of Israel had a leader (12), and God told Moses to set aside 70 elders (Exodus 18:13-26; 24:1) to help rule God’s Israel. These 70 men eventually became known as the “Sanhedrin”, or the Ruling 70. Moses ruled Israel under the Old Covenant.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Moses was the Mediator of the Old Covenant, but Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15). As Moses chose 70, Jesus chooses 70, and sends them out to share the Gospel throughout Israel. Jesus conveys special powers upon His “Sanhedrin” so that they might share the message that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (vs 11). Jesus told them:

Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

The 70 were ecstatic when they returned to Jesus. They said, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. Jesus told these men:

Luke 10:18-20 I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. 19 Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

You Bless The Lord When You Treat Him As the Lord. Sit At His Feet, Do What He Says When He Says.

The Bible says:

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Do not DO SOMETHING. DO what Jesus tells you to do. Sit at His feet. He is Lord. Read His Word. Pray. The Psalmist said:

Psalm 37:34 Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

We are losing the land in America. As American Christians, we are too often:

sitting at the feet of anger
sitting at the feet of fear
sitting at the feet of greed
sitting at the feet of ungodliness
sitting at the feet of vain philosophies
sitting at the feet of social media
sitting at the feet of television
sitting at the feet of celebrities
sitting at the feet of politicians
sitting at the feet of socialism
sitting at the feet of selfishness

This is no good. We must sit at the feet of Jesus. Jesus said:

John 18:37 … To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

It is imperative that we sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word. “Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89). What God affirms as true is true, though all the world rail against it. What our Lord says in this Bible is of paramount important to the Kingdom of God, and for the future of this nation. The Psalmist said of the Lord:

Psalm 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Pastor Kevin DeYoung notes,

God does not lay down arbitrary rules. He does not give orders so that we might be restricted and miserable. He never requires what is impure, unloving, or unwise. His demands are always noble, always just, and always righteous.”

The danger of DOING SOMETHING without first sitting at Christ’s feet is illustrated by our Lord. Many “DOERS” will end up in hell. Jesus said:

Matthew 7:22-27 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Doing a work without first sitting at Jesus’ feet is not doing a good work, but a bad work. Those who sit at Jesus’ feet and heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them has built his house on a rock that nothing on this earth can destroy. That is what the Lord wants of us.

Martha In Her Doing Cut The Lord Out

Mary is WAITING on the Lord by hearing and applying His Word. Martha is WAITING on the Lord by presuming what He wants – then complaining because Jesus does not want it.

Luke 10:40 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.

Illustration: Imagine this: You go to a fancy, five star restaurant, and are quickly seated at your table. Before anyone asks you anything, the waiter come up and opens a bottle of wine, pouring it into your glass. He walks away as another waiter comes with a meal. Putting it down in front of you, you have escargot (snails), sushi (raw) octopus with black ink gravy, and braised chitlins. The waiter drops the plates in front of you, and walks away. You try complaining, but no one wants to hear it. Then you get a bill for $500.00, and the waiters want generous tips.

This is the type of “waiting” that Martha was doing. This is the type of “waiting” we often do for God. This type of “waiting” irritates God as much as we would have been at that five star restaurant. It also wears us out.

Word Study: We are told Martha was cumbered about much serving. Martha is working very hard. The word translated cumbered is the Greek περισπάω perispáō, {pronounced per-ee-spah’-o}, which means “to drag all around, to be over occupied and thus distressed, to be driven about mentally”. It is interesting that this word is only found HERE in the Greek New Testament. Martha was singularly – as no other New Testament character had been – about to have a melt down! She says to Jesus:

Lord, dost thou not care that my sister
hath left me to serve alone?”

Martha calls Jesus Lord, but in her heart Jesus is patently NOT Lord. If Jesus were Lord (and He is), then she would be at His feet instead of standing over Him upset and demanding. Beloved, Jesus is LORD. As LORD, He NEVER asked Martha to do what she was doing. Martha was doing what she was doing because it was HER house, and SHE wanted to look good for Jesus and His disciples. SHE wanted to be a good hostess. There’s nothing wrong with that – but Jesus is LORD.

Jesus went 40 days and 40 nights without food, and just made a banquet for over 5000 people out of two fish and five little biscuits. If He is hungry, He will tell Martha.

Jesus tells us in another place:

Matthew 4:4 (ESV) … Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

We all desperately need the Word of God.
We do not need another strange philosophy out of Hollyweird.
We do not need a 3.5 TRILLION dollar tax burden from Valhalla.
We need to be at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him.
We need to be at Jesus’ feet, worshiping Him.

Luke 4:8 (ESV) … It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve”.

Martha was not serving the Lord. She was serving herself. It was her house, and she was putting on airs – unrequested airs. Furthermore, Martha is making out that Jesus is heartless. “Dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?”. Jesus, if You loved me, you would (fill in the blank). How often have we all done this, jumping out ahead of God’s direction, doing it – like Frank Sinatra sang, “My Way”.

Please note that Jesus does not chastise Martha until she, overwhelmed, comes to Him. Jesus just continues teaching Mary until Martha gets enough. When we jump out on our own and get ourselves wrapped around the axle, sometimes the Lord will just let us go until we – overwhelmed – come crying to Him. “Jesus, don’t You care?” Yes, He does. Jesus corrects Martha:

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things..

Notice how Jesus speaks to Martha. He says Martha, Martha.

Martha is one of 7 people that God calls their name twice – and the only woman Jesus calls by name twice.

Abraham, Abraham (Genesis 22:11)
Jacob, Jacob (Genesis 46:2)
Moses, Moses (Exodus 3:4)
Samuel, Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10)
Martha, Martha (Luke 10:41)
Simon, Simon (Luke 22:31)
Saul, Saul (Acts 9:4)

Word Study: Martha’s mind is on overload because she is doing many things – but NOTHING that Jesus told her to do. Jesus told her thou art careful and troubled. The word careful is the Greek μεριμνάω merimnáō, {pronounced mer-im-nah’-o}, which means anxious, filled with anxiety. The other word troubled is the Greek τυρβάζω tyrbázō, {pronounced toor-bad’-zo}, meaning “to be stirred up and confused, to be troubled in mind. Two of the greatest enemies of our faith is anxiety and confusion. Where anxiety and confusion is, Jesus is NOT. The Bible tells us:

Philippians 4:6 (ESV) … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

In other words, if you are ANXIOUS, stop what you’re doing, and sit at Jesus’ feet listening. Open the Word of God. Pray, and look for God’s face. Recognize that HE IS LORD and WE ARE NOT. We are not to be anxious today, nor about tomorrow. Do as Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

One of my favorite Bible texts is God is not a God of confusion but of peace(1 Corinthians 14:33). Martha was taking too much on herself, running herself ragged. Jesus told her:

Luke 10:42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

The Apostle Paul understood that the greatest thing any of us can do is to hear and know Jesus. He wrote:

Philippians 3:8-10 (ESV) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ … and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

The best thing in life – the thing that brings joy to every day – is to know Jesus, to hear His Word, and to be worshipful in doing what He has said. Mary chose that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. As we learn of Jesus, we, through the Holy Spirit of God, become daily more like Jesus. We DO His Word. Let us commit to give our lives to Jesus. Let us have a Mary mentality, sitting at the Lord’s feet daily, seeking HIS will. Let us be GOOD WAITERS. May God the Holy Spirit draw us all into a deeper relationship with Him, for His glory, that His Kingdom might grow. In Christ’s name I pray. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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