Day 9: Doing vs being

Author Pete Scazzero explores the biblical story of Mary and Martha. Day 9 of 21 Days of Prayer + Fasting 2019.

Peter Scazzero

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’s feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.’
And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42, NKJV)

Mary and Martha represent two approaches to the Christian life.

Martha was actively serving Jesus, but she also was missing Jesus. She was busy in the “doing” of life. Her life was pressured and filled with distractions. Her duties had become disconnected from her love for Jesus. Martha’s problems, however, went beyond her busyness. I suspect that if Martha were to sit at the feet of Jesus, she would still have been distracted by everything on her mind. She was touchy, irritable and anxious.

Mary, on the other hand, was sitting at Jesus’s feet, listening to Him. She was “being” with Jesus, enjoying intimacy with Him, loving Him and taking pleasure in His presence. He was her center of gravity. I suspect if Mary were to help with the many household chores, she would not have been worried or upset. Why? Because she had slowed down to focus on Jesus and to center her life on Him.

Our goal is to pray unceasingly, to remember Jesus and to be with Jesus when we are serving, like Martha, or sitting at His feet, like Mary.

Prayer + Reflection
1. Lord, grant me the grace to let go of the things that are worrying or upsetting me today.
2. Help me to be still like Mary, to listen and wait patiently for You (Ps. 37:7).
3. Teach me to be prayerfully attentive and to rest in You as I enter into the many activities of this day.

21 Days of Prayer + Fasting 2019

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is the founder of New Life Fellowship Church in Queens (Elmhurst), New York, where he serves as teaching pastor and pastor-at-large. He is the author of "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" (Zondervan, 2014) and "I Quit!" (Zondervan, 2010).
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