“Now as they were traveling along, Jesus entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell here to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’”
All too often, in the minds of those reading this passage, Martha seems to have gotten a bum rap. Is Jesus playing favorites here? Are His words intended to humiliate Martha before her sister and the other gathered guests? I think not, that was never in the heart and mind of Jesus. Let me share with you what I think is going on here. I see in this story a coin with two sides, the sides are being and doing, and both are necessary in a balanced Christian life.
Being, is that time that we spend in the Savior’s presence, sitting at His feet if you would. It is there that we gaze into His face and hear His voice through the words of the Bible. It is there that we converse with Him in prayer. It is there that we get our marching orders, so to speak.
Doing, is now getting up and acting on that which we have heard as we sat at His feet. Remember the words of James, “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). So, there is a time to sit at Jesus feet and there is a time rise and go to work.
Being without doing benefits neither the Lord nor His kingdom’s cause. On the other hand, doing without being is dead works, for these are works done in one’s own strength under one’s own guidance.
There is an old adage that says, “Satan does not care which side of the horse you fall off of, just so long as you fall off.” This applies very well to the coin of being and doing. We can spend so much time being that we are of no earthly good. We can spend so much time doing that we lose intimacy with our Savior. Again, both are necessary for a balanced spiritual life.
So, I ask you, do you tend to be more like Martha or Mary? The truth of the matter is, God wants you to be both. Choose the good part, sitting at His feet, before you rise to your labors. It is then that you will rise to your labors not in your strength and wisdom, but His.