Martha and Mary were sisters, DJ Rachel thinks Martha was probably the older of the two. Jesus came to visit them and Martha was working hard to get food ready for Jesus and His Disciples to eat but Mary chose to sit at Jesus feet and listen and learn what he was preaching. Martha got up set and went to Jesus and said Hey! Jesus make her get up and come help me do the work...Jesus said no that Mary had chosen well and he wasn't going to take it away from her.
I can imagine how upset Martha was when she went back to the kitchen after that conversation. ' I'm still doing all of the work...Mary is just sitting there! !' You can imagine the sounds of cabinets slamming shut and pots and pans banging around at Martha continued to serve by making dinner but with a whole lot of frustration. Obviously, that is just my imagining about that response - the Bible doesn't follow that part of the story. I can sure tell you that a lot of us in her place would be mumbling and banging around the kitchen and trying to figure out how to serve everyone but that ' little lazy sister!'
But Mary was getting a job done too. She was, as Jesus said, finding her way and he was going to encourage her to continue to do so. I imagine Mary some how knew that Martha was going to blow a gasket when the guests were gone, but for now she was simply going to continue to soak up the preaching of Christ.
How many times do we find ourselves either Mary or Martha in like. We are working on the thing that we believe to be our service or job or work that needs to be done and wondering why others have chosen to do what looks like nothing but sitting around when they could be helping. Or we find ourselves engrossed in study and miss the chance to physically help another person accomplish something they feel is necessary.
Obviously, in the scripture these are two separate people with completely different ideas of what service to Jesus was. But for most of us we kind of have opportunities to be either Martha or Mary in that situation...our choice of how to serve .
The scripture (in essence) is reminding us that while the work of Martha is important, the work of listening and learning of Mary's was just as important, if not more so. We can prioritize how we can work with others on the listening and learning and on the actual work.
Ecclesiatics 9:10 ."whatever your hand finds to do, do it well"