Luke 10:42 NIV | “But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
What do you think made Mary sit still at the feet of Jesus, while Martha got distracted with service and everything else? It’s been argued that it had to do with their temperaments. Martha is seen to be outgoing, while Mary on the other hand is reserved. Scriptures lend credence to this assertion.
Martha in her gregarious nature was the first to receive and welcome Jesus into their home. Mary joins in them in meeting shortly after. The use of the word “also” indicates that.
Luke 10:38-39 KJV | “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.”
Another sneak peep into the two sisters’ demeanours – Martha’s extroversion, and Mary’s unassertiveness, was seen when Jesus eventually visits their home, after Lazarus had died.
John 11:20 NIV | “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.”
So these and a few other scriptures tend to support that the distinction between Martha and Mary was in their temperaments. Jesus nonetheless, reveals the truth to us. He said “Mary has chosen what is better.” The word “chosen” sums it all up. Mary’s distinction was in her choice, and not in her temperament. Her life of glory and great renown had to do with her preference and attraction to the person Jesus. Otherwise, her quiet and modest nature wouldn’t have let her offer the kind of worship she lavished on Jesus with the alabaster jar, in the presence of all the disciples and her siblings, that has indeed become a memorial today, according to the words of Jesus.
She chose the good part. She chose to be distracted by Jesus. Jesus distracted her from “things that had to be done” – seeming important stuff, while those seeming important stuff distracted Martha from Jesus. She chose to be moved by what moved Jesus. It was all about her choice and love for Him, otherwise God would be unfair, because no one chooses their temperament.
Free will is one gift God has given to us mankind. And the choices we make with them either make or mar us. They shape our experiences. They create our future. They chart the course of our lives. May the Holy Spirit help us to keep surrendering to Him, as He works in us, and may we consistently keep choosing Him amidst many other alternatives.
Orpah and Ruth were released by their mother-in-law, Naomi, to go back to their people after their husbands died. Orpah couldn’t resist the distraction and temptation of going back to her heathen people and worldly life, while Ruth chose to stick with Naomi and the people of God. Today, the ancestry of Jesus is not complete without the mention of Ruth’s name.
The life of Moses was one full of power and glory. His secret can also be summed up in the same single word – choice. He chose to allow God to distract him. In the instance with the burning bush, he said, “I will turn aside and see.” He repeatedly chose the Lord over the world.
Hebrews 11:24-25 NIV | “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.“
The Holy Spirit delights in those who wholeheartedly and intentionally choose Him over everything else. They are the ones that He causes all things to work together for their good – “those who love Him.” I pray He becomes both our distraction and attraction, and help us to continually make Him our choice.