Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard His word. But Martha was encumbered (orig: dragged around) about much serving, came to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled (merimnao) about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Here we see a picture of a divided heart (Martha) and an undivided one (Mary). So many in the body are like Martha, inwardly divided and outwardly dragged around by much activity, thinking that this busy-ness is pleasing to the Lord, convinced that others who are waiting at the Lord’s feet are simply lazy or unwilling to come alongside the busier ones. This is not a new phenomenon.
When Moses, in obedience to the word of the Lord, declares to Pharaoh, “Let my people go that they may worship me.” Pharaoh refuses, saying that the people are lazy (idle; Heb) and for that reason, they want to leave their work to sacrifice to the Lord. The Lord desired to transform His people from being workers/slaves to becoming worshippers/priests. Pharaoh (a type of Satan) tried to convince God’s people that it was laziness to “simply” worship the Lord rather than to be busy with something “more constructive” like building great edifices through the sweat of the brow.
Satan will always try to convince God’s people that worshipping the Lord is vanity or laziness and that there are more important and necessary things to do, even in advancing the Kingdom of God. But the Lord had commanded Moses and the people to leave Egypt (the world), to go to make a feast to Him on the mountain. Pharaoh says, “Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words.” Moses had heard the word of the Lord while he was on the backside of the desert, but now the enemy lays more work on the people to convince them that it is foolish to regard the words of the Lord. Exodus 5:1-9
But Mary sat at the Lord’s feet with an undivided and undistracted heart and listened to His word. Martha SERVED, but Mary HEARD. Martha was dragged all around serving (and complaining), but Mary sat and listened and when she did, she heard God! Most believers don’t sit and listen long enough to really hear the word of the Lord. They are too distracted and divided in heart. “Man will not live by bread alone, but by every rhema that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Mary learned that her true life consisted in hearing the word of His mouth that flowed out of the abundance of His heart and not from the bread that perishes. Her meat was to hear that word and to do it. Jesus knows that our first real need is to sit at His feet to hear His word. Then in all that He leads us to do, our service to Him will attain the perfection of Mary, who at a later time poured upon the feet of Jesus the ointment which still fills the world with the fragrance of Calvary love.
When Judas complained that Mary’s act was wasteful, Jesus tells him not to trouble her because she had done it in preparation for His burial. Mary was in such perfect harmony with the heart, will and timing of God, that having heard in her own heart that He would die for the world, was prepared to be the one who would anoint His body for burial. Are we sitting and listening long enough at the feet of Jesus to hear a present word that will prepare us and others for the days ahead, even for the coming of the Lord?
True divine love can never flow out of a divided and distracted heart that metes out only a portion to the Lord and to others. True divine love can only flow out of a whole healed heart that knows no measure and no minimum, but extravagantly pours out it’s all to the Lord. By its very nature, God’s perfect love can never flow in part.
“For we know in part and we prophecy in part (another root of the word worry/divided). But when that which is perfect (finished; whole; mature; Christ Himself) is come, then that which is in part will be done away.” I Cor.13:9
“For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” I Cor. 13:12
When our hearts let go of all dividedness, when we truly desire and are willing to walk in our full inheritance: in the new heart, completely restored and whole, the heart of Christ, we will no longer see Him dimly, but face to face. We will know as we have been known and we will know one another after the Spirit/heart of God and not through our old wounded and shattered selves.
Therefore, let us go on to perfection, laying hold of the hope set before us.
Asher serves as president of Tikkun Global family of ministries and congregations, dedicated to the dual restoration of Israel and the Church. He is founder of the Revive Israel five-fold ministry team, and oversees both Ahavat Yeshua and Tiferet Yeshua congregations in Israel.
He and his wife Betty share a passion for personal prayer and devotion, local evangelism and discipleship in Hebrew, and unity of the Body of believers worldwide.
Asher was raised in a conservative Jewish home and holds degrees from Harvard University, Baltimore Hebrew College and Messiah Biblical Institute. He has authored numerous books, tracts and articles.