Photo by Sarah Chai

Luke 10:38–42 ‘Few things are needed – or indeed only one.’ (v42)

In this passage, we encounter Jesus spending time with his friends. Elsewhere in the Gospels we read this is the home of ‘Simon the leper’ (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; see also John 12:1–3), but here we see that it is Martha – possibly Simon’s daughter or wife – who is opening up her home to Jesus and His disciples.

She is clearly quite a driven personality. She has plenty to do, making everything perfect for her guests. She seems thorough, diligent and organised.

But things start to unravel, and she gets annoyed with her sister, who is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to everything He has to say.

Martha tries to get Jesus on-side but He firmly but kindly points out that actually it’s Mary who is doing the right thing. Listening to Jesus tops everything else in life.

We can imagine what Martha might have been thinking as she thought about Jesus’ words. ‘Few things are needed? Really? Have you seen the amount of work I’ve got to do?

Do you expect me to just stop everything and listen? If I do, there won’t be much of a supper…’ Or perhaps she saw the beauty in His words and, with a great sigh, mopped her brow and stopped to listen.

Still, Jesus encourages Mary with the words that what she has chosen to do is much ‘better’ (v42) than rushing around – Mary has chosen to put Jesus first.

Jesus wasn’t saying that all the ‘stuff’ of life doesn’t have to get done: He was just saying, it’s a question of priorities. Mary’s number one priority was Jesus. We can learn a lot from her.


A Prayer To Make:
‘God, I praise You that You are Lord of all. Nothing should come before You in my life. Help me to make changes where I need to, so You are first, all the time. Amen.’

An Action To Take:
Identify areas in your life where perhaps you don’t put Jesus first. What can you do this week to change your priorities?

Scripture To Consider:
Exod. 20:1–17; Deut. 6:1–12; Matt. 6:25–34 & 10:16–33

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.