Reflection on Luke 10:38-42


The Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details. There is only one thing worth becoming concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”


Jesus and his disciples are travelling to Jerusalem. They come to the home of Mary and Martha. Martha is distracted by the dinner she is preparing while Mary sits at the Lord’s feet listening to His teaching.

Martha complains to Jesus about her sister, but He tells her Mary has chosen the better thing.


Preparing food for thirteen people (plus all the extras) would have been a big thing then- no take away pizzas were available! In that culture, as in many places today, it was expected that you would put on a good meal for visitors, especially for someone as famous as Jesus.

Martha slaves away, preparing the food and fuming at her sister who has not lifted a finger to help.

Jesus tells Martha she has missed the point. Food is important, but not as important as eternal life. Honouring Jesus with food is good, but not when you are focusing on the failures of others.

The question not asked here is “What motivates you?”

Do I do things because it is expected of me, and people will judge me if I don’t do things according to their priorities?

Do I love Jesus with my words and actions while harbouring resentment or pride in my heart?

Jesus looks at our heart to see the true motivations that drive us. In that sense, we all need to spend more time with Jesus, letting His words transform out hearts.


Lord Jesus, I confess that many of the things I do “for you” have mixed motives. Forgive me for those times when I serve you from self interest. Help me to seek you for who you are and not for what I get from being seen to serve you. Amen.

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