As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, Luke says, they came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
When I read this passage of scripture I get the image of a house busy with people engaged in numerous conversations around the house. Martha is running about trying to figure out how everybody is going to get fed and coordinating the logistics of cooking for all the people.
Somewhere in a secluded corner the Lord Jesus Christ is calmly teaching a handful of people who are intently listening to His every word. Mary is sitting at His feet, very content and very settled.
Martha came to Jesus to complain about her sister, Mary. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NIV
This story demonstrates to us where our priorities should be.
A time management expert was speaking to a group of business students one day. As the expert stood before the class of high-powered overachievers, he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” He brought out a one gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more of the big rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is the jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.”
The speaker replied, in a sly manner, “Really?” He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks. Then he smiled and asked the group once more, “It the jar full now?”
By this time, the class was getting the picture, and one of the students answered, “Probably not.”
“Good!” he replied. He then reached under the table, and this time he brought out a bucket of sand. He started dumping the sand into the jar, and it went into all the spaces left between the big rocks and the gravel.
Once more he asked the class, “What do you think? Is the jar full now?” “No!” the class shouted.
Once again he said, “Good!” And then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then, he looked up at the class and asked, “What is the point of this demonstration?”
One eager student raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard, you can always work some more things into it.”
“No! No!” No!” the expert said, “That’s not the point.” What we have here is a life lesson we dare not forget, namely this: If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all!”
Wasn’t that a great lesson to give those students? “If you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in al all.” This serves as a reminder to us to focus on the real priorities… the “big rocks,” the key things… first, because in the hectic pace of this life, if you don’t work them in early, they will likely get left out altogether.
And what are the big rocks of life for you? What are the real priorities for you? What do you give your time and effort and energy to first? What is the most urgent crucial commitment for you?
According to Jesus, your first big rock is your relationship with Him. Sitting daily at His feet. Learning from Him. Fellowshipping with Him. Can you honestly say that is your number one priority in life?
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
Daily, do you choose what is better? Is sitting at Jesus’ feet your number one priority? If not, that’s the invitation today. Make a decision that from now on you are going to be a Mary; you’re going to choose what’s better.