THE GOSPELS 89
As we continue our study of the ministry of Jesus, one of the more interesting events was His visit to the house of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus. In this age of constant pressure by all forms of media and social demands, it is well for us to pause and study this lesson in “priorities”. We are all under these pressures every day, in dealing with friends and the strangers which we meet. How I choose to deal with them measures the effect my life has on my world, and who I really am. God’s will concerning how I treat my neighbors is very specific, and in the Samaritan story, Jesus made that include everyone I meet along the way.
Jesus was probably very tired when He arrived at this house. His ministry was coming to a close and, undoubtedly, He was very concerned that the message He came to deliver was deeply imprinted on the minds and hearts, especially of those who were nearest to Him.
As He sat down, Mary came and sat at His feet to listen in rapt attention to what He had to say. Martha, on the other hand was busily engaged in preparing the finest possible meal, and serving Him the best she had to offer.
Feeling over-worked, and maybe a little jealous, she asked Jesus to tell Mary to come and help her. He told her that He felt Mary was doing something more
important. He did not scold Martha, for she was trying to serve Him, but she had failed to see what He needed most.
At this moment, with the Cross so near, Jesus was much less interested in His physical needs than He was in teaching the eternal truths He had brought from Heaven. He was more interested in having listeners, than in having servers of His earthly desires.
There is a good lesson in this for all of us. Whether we are a host in our own home, or just meet someone casually on the street, how do we act toward them?
Are we more interested in what we have to offer them, than in what they have to offer us? The best host is not the one who gives you the best food and the best entertainment, but the one that makes you feel most comfortable and most welcome for being there. Making you feel they are thankful that you came is more important than making you thankful for the fine service you got.
Mary realized that Jesus’ heart was full, and that He needed to be listened to and responded to with love and concern. Loving one’s neighbor as one’s self requires me to not be so self-centered that I am blinded to the real needs of the other. Love means being more concerned for the happiness of another person than I am for my own happiness. If more married couples practiced this, there would be far fewer divorces and many more happy homes.