Week 4 | Monday
Week 4: What Does Faith Look Like?
Mary: Sitting at Jesus' Feet
by Janet Nygren
Read: Luke 10:38-42
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- This passage is sometimes seen as a comparison in personality types, or a preference in ministry roles. But what is Jesus actually critiquing here?
- Focusing in on Mary, what aspects of faith does Jesus call out?
- Mary’s actions are counter-cultural for her day. Women were not expected to be students, and there was more of an assumption of a servant role such as Martha is doing (her complaint to Jesus anticipates his agreement to her point of view). What does this say about Jesus’ priorities and cultural norms?
- Today’s culture is significantly different, but we can certainly relate to being “worried and upset about many things (v.41).” What does this call to faith look like for you?
- How does “sitting at Jesus’ feet” make a difference in your day to day life?
- Take a few minutes to just listen to Jesus right now.
- This might be a hard practice for some of you – I suggest putting a timer on for 3 minutes and concentrate on focusing just on listening to what Jesus might have to say to you, without allowing your thoughts to get distracted by other things.
- Do you struggle to spend time at Jesus’ feet? Do you rely on time with Jesus for your day to go right? Share with others what your experience of this is–I guarantee you are not alone, wherever you are on this spectrum.
“Down at Your feet O Lord is the most High Place…” I know the truth of these words, but I have to keep re-learning it. Spending time in His presence is refreshing and renewing. Often, we receive insights that make our actions more productive than they would have been-because we are seeing and doing His will. Even at this moment, I find myself ready to jump into action.
If “spending time at Jesus’ feet” means daily, private devotions, then I have to admit I have been pretty inconsistent for big chunks of my life, especially during the raising-children and high-stress work periods in my 30s and 40s – basically, when I was distracted and worried about many things. One of the challenges for me is that it can often feel like a legalistic obligation, something I am supposed to do. But I have learned a lot in recent years about the value of discipline and perseverance. I have also learned to be more creative about finding times to pray and read the Bible, as well as other Christian books. Through these times, even if they are sometimes brief and inconsistent, I have experienced God’s blessing and joy. Something I noticed about today’s passage is that Mary wasn’t alone—she was part of a group of disciples listening to Jesus. I think gathering with other believers to listen to Jesus is really important.
I've always seen this as an unfair (that's not fair!) comparison between the two sisters, so Janet's guidance to dig deeper is really helpful today. Obviously, I'm a Martha, and I've always said that without Marthas nobody would eat.
But Jesus is calling out the distraction, not the personality type! I do struggle with planning the next thing even as I'm doing the current thing. It's getting better as I age, but I'm going to need to think about this throughout the day.
As I sit here, thinking, worshiping, praying, meditating- I’m listening to my washing machine because the load is unbalanced and I’ve had to rearrange & adjusting several times….(Martha, we need clean clothes!) LOL!
Well.... I'm a little Martha and Mary. I enjoy starting my day off with the Lord. Should I miss that quiet time for a few days, I begin to feel kind of lost and alone and look forward to sitting with my Lord ince again. On the other hand, I'm Martha. When we have company for dinner, I'm so busy finalizing the meal that I miss out on conversations going on in the living room. Yes, I'm a little of both these ladies. Oh and the mind! How it can all of a sudden be thinking about other things while trying to focus on the Word that I have to put on the helmet of salvation so that the enemy leaves me alone. It's a true story
..but the battle belongs to the Lord.
I'm with Linda on this. I can't tell you how many days my devotional times not only anchor me, but give me something to say of significance with my clients! I really depend on it. But I'm also a do-er who gets anxious about all that has to get done. I guess I need to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus whether I'm Mary or Martha and take it one step at a time.
This is the same Mary who not only sat at Jesus' feet but later anointed his feet with expensive oil and then wiped his feet with her hair. This is an ultimate example of selfless devotion even more so than simply washing feet in a basin and drying them with a towel.