If Jesus were coming to your house tonight for dinner, would you be just sitting here reading this blog? Well, Martha had this experience, and we know how that went. Martha was “busy with all the details of hospitality” while her sister Mary sat at the Lord’s feet. Martha’s problem had a perfect solution: “Jesus, get my sister to help me.” But Jesus had another solution.
Like other stories in Luke’s gospel, this story reflects a concern among the early Christians. Among Christians, women and men were equals. Women could be disciples in the full sense, right along with the apostles. When there was not enough help being given to the Greek speaking widows (Acts 6:1-7), deacons were appointed. Women deacons also assisted whenever there were tensions between time for ministry (work) and time for discipleship (prayer, listening to God’s word). Nothing important could be neglected. Martha was distracted by serving (diakonia). The Lord’s solution is one we all need: Don’t neglect prayer and attention to the Word of God, because these things will give meaning to all your work and ministry. If you’re going to be a good disciple, you have to recognize the Lord’s presence by being present to him.