Luke 10.38–42 ESV
38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Growing up in a sporting family, our family get togethers were often spent talking about someone’s latest hunting adventure. There were tales of elk and moose hunts; questions about running into bears or poisonous snakes; and the all-too-familiar questions about what the country looked like.
There was something special about sitting at the feet of an adventurer and hearing the tales of far away places. There was a wildness in the experience that you wanted to intimately connect to for yourself. There was this sense of urgency that felt as if letting the storyteller get settled would somehow sabotage the excitement of the visit.
In our text for today, we read of two sisters, Mary and Martha, who have welcomed Jesus into their home after His travels. The sisters respond differently to Jesus’ arrival. Martha busies herself with preparations for their time together, while Mary jumps right in to what Jesus is up to. Jesus tells a frustrated Martha that Mary has chosen “the better part” by sitting at Jesus feet to hear what He has to say.
And what is it that Jesus (or any other traveler) desires after having traveled and seen many things? He seeks someone to share in His adventure. Mary’s response was one of true hospitality because she did more than welcome Jesus’ presence; she welcomed His travel, His work, and His ministry. Here’s Jesus, just back from an amazing time on the road and Mary responds with urgency, quickly sitting to listen to His latest news. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Martha’s desire to work, but all that needs to be done right now is welcoming a long-traveled Jesus.
The simple takeaway today (and for the next 3 weeks) is the importance of truly learning from Jesus, to sit at the feet of the Master and hear the deep things of God. Jesus is inviting us into a life of faith and journey. Our response is to open our hearts to all that He has to say.
To go back to my own experience, I can remember my first trip out West. I was so excited to come home and tell my mother and grandmother of all my Wild West adventures. They would sit and listen to every word and story I had to share (bless their hearts). They’d heard these stories a 100 times from my dad and my granddad but they endured the descriptions of blue grass, big skies, and fireball sunsets.
For me, hearing about the experiences made me want to go and see these things for myself. Then, once I had gone and done them myself I would long to return, time and time again, because these experiences had become a part of me.
That is what we are to capture today: that wide-eyed and mystified moment when we hear the deep things of God and then burn inside to go and experience them ourselves. It is what God desires and what Jesus is inviting us to; that we take the challenge to step out in faith and see the Holy Spirit change hearts and lives, starting with our own.
The invitation is here, before you today, to see things in a new way, to experience them all for yourself, and then for you to return and make the ears of interested listeners burn for more stories of faith—stories that move them to dream for better things and then enter into those better things with the Holy Spirit of God.
The stories and events that we hear at the feet of Master are Divine realities. They are stories of redemption, of forgiveness, of real power made alive in our everyday lives. At the feet of the Master is where Jesus transmits the Divine directive to go into all the world and make disciples.
We sit at the feet of the Master when pray; when we worship; when we teach our children how to live and function as Christ Followers; when we engage the last, the least, and the lost as the hands and feet of Christ Jesus.
As we close, I’ll pose a few questions. Are you at the feet of the Master? Are you choosing “the better part?” What are you learning at His feet? Are you taking what you’re learning deep within? Is it motivating you to take on the adventures of our living God? Let us answer these questions in our living, in our sitting at the feet of the Master.