Commentary by Walter Albritton


January 12


Mary and Martha: Jesus Helped Them with Their Priorities

Read Luke 10:38-42; John 11:20-32

Key Verse: Luke 10:41, 42


Hospitality is a beautiful gift of the Spirit. What a wonderful experience it is to be made welcome in the home of a Christian friend. My heart is aglow as I recall hundreds of times when Christian friends have opened their homes to me.

Only a few weeks ago my wife and I were guests in the home of our friends Doug and Gaynelle Newton. Doug had invited me to preach in the church that he serves as pastor, First United Methodist Church in Atmore, Alabama. We were received like royalty! We were reminded again how precious is the gift of hospitality.

Martha, who was probably a widow since she owned her home, opened her home in Bethany, near Jerusalem, to Jesus many times. She, her sister Mary, and her brother Lazarus, were close friends of Jesus.

Apparently, Jesus could relax and rest at Martha’s home. Weary of traveling and ministering to others, Jesus could renew his physical strength in the presence of his friends as he enjoyed the comfort of their home.

Pastors always gravitate to the homes of parishioners where they can “take off their shoes” for a brief rest, free for a little while from the need to perform. Like Jesus in Martha’s home, they feel accepted, for they are treated “like family.” At mealtime, they are welcome to take “pot luck” at the table of fellow believers.

In reaching unbelievers for Christ, few things are more important than hospitality. If you want to help someone find new life in Christ, invite that person to share a meal in your home. Such loving acceptance can help people understand that God loves them too.

Like us, of course, Martha was not always the perfect host. On one occasion, she was “troubled about many things.” How like Martha we all are! We have so much to do, so many places to go, that our priorities are often scrambled.

Jesus helped Martha, and he can help us too. His advice for her is the counsel we need to heed. We need to stop fretting and fussing, about many things, and re-focus on the single most important thing we can do – pay attention to Jesus.

We can accomplish that best by the discipline of a daily quiet time. We need a place where we can sit and talk with our Lord about what really matters, and allow him to help us choose those priorities that deserve our time and energy.

In our devotional times we may learn, as Martha and Mary did when Lazarus died, that Jesus may have a better plan for us than what we thought best. The more we get to know Jesus, the better we understand that he does all things well, and he always knows what is best for us.

As we become wiser, we discover the truth of the old gospel song, that “there is no other way to be happy in Jesus than to trust and obey.” + + +
















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