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Lessons from Luke (One): Simple Lives

"'Martha, Martha', the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed - or indeed, only one.'"

(Luke 10:41-42 TNIV)

Reading: Luke 10: 38-42

Focus: Martha

In an age that applauds and rewards busyness, Jesus' words to Martha speak clearer still.

In today's reading, Martha is vexed that her sister sits to enjoy Jesus' company while she is left to make all the preparations associated with attending a guest. Feeling rightly grieved, she makes her complaint to Jesus himself. It might be a complaint that we would also harbour, whether expressed or silently.

Jesus' answer is surprising. It may prove even more unexpected today. He tells her that she is worried about many things, but only one thing matters. It is Mary, not her, who has found the better way.

We can all become preoccupied and torn by burdens we were never intended to carry, juggling plates we were not required to hold - thinking they are necessary when they are not. Too often, we are pressed by demands that God never gave us, but we fail to recognise that because we are conditioned by social pressure before Biblical wisdom.

If we are honest, or willing to be, busyness may be our way of masking other issues or the vehicle for our self-esteem, or even our source of pride. Challenge yourself to see if you fashion your life around 'false gods' that render it busy, but are ultimately meaningless: how well you can entertain, your house extension, keeping up with the Jones, your gym performance or other societal pressures rather than that which really matters? Dwell further: do you entertain to show off or to bless the guest? Have you taken that stressful job because you are in need of money or because of status or expectation?

Jesus' tells us few things are needed, indeed only one. His message may feel controversial in our 21st century lives of ambition, hurry and over-achievement, but that does not make it wrong.

Jesus calls us to simple lives; to lives that count. Slow down. Simplify. Abide.

Sit with today's passage and consider what governs your life and how it shapes your thinking, words, activity and diary? Where has your mentality been framed more by society than Scripture? Would Jesus utter the same words to you?

Copyright © Sharmila Meadows 2022

Scripture quotations taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, TODAY’S NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 2004 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, a division of Hodder Headline ltd. All rights reserved. “TNIV” is a registered trademark of International Bible Society.

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It's rewarding to receive comments on this post. RevBlots kindly highlights the point made about carrying burdens and preoccupations God never intended for us. It's something the Lord showed me five years ago: to lay down things he has not appointed as my concern. Love to hear your views!


Very thought-provoking. I've always felt sorry for Martha. And, of course, if everyone in the church was a Mary, nothing would ever get done!

That said, a sense of perspective is very important. We need to balance up our inner Martha with an inner Mary.

Your comment that 'We can all become preoccupied and torn by burdens we were never intended to carry' is very perceptive, and helpful. A gift of discernment is needed, as is the encouragement of the body of Christ - both to help in that discernment, but also to identify its own vocations, to help share the load.

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Thank you for this helpful share. Discernment is key I agree - and I like the point you make about the body of Christ coming alongside each other to identify gifting and share the load. I hope you stay tuned for further Lessons from Luke! Thanks for taking the time to engage.

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