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Bro. Dale Leacock
January 28, 2001

Text: Luke 10:38

-38- As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
-39- She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
-40- But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
-41- "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
-42- but only one thing is needed. For Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


  • Scene Bethany, a village near Jerusalem
  • In this passage we have a delightful picture of home life and Christ resting
  • Both sisters Mary and Martha were disciples of Jesus as well as their brother Lazarus

CENTRAL THESIS - In this account we see three spirits or attitudes that we need to understand and apply to our own lives.


    1. Mary evident older and more prominent, owner
    2. Had on other occasion sat at Jesus feet. This time was anxious to do Christ honor by hospitality
    3. She was cumbered about much serving of elaborate meal. Even necessity can be a distraction
    4. Complained that Mary had left her to serve alone
    5. Demanded that Guest use the prerogative of Master and bid her that she help.


    1. Said, Martha, Martha one of double calls in scripture - this time in protest (gen 22:11, 46:2, Exodus 3:4, 1 Sam 3:10, Matt. 23:27, Luke 22:31, Acts 9:4)
    2. Reminder her (primary meaning) that

      1. Too many things (dishes) troubled her
      2. But one thing (some one plain, simple food was necessary)

    3. Then lifted the subject into high realm of thing spiritual and said that Mary had chosen something better than natural food (the nourishment of His teaching)
    4. Recognized two different temperaments - active and contemplative, practical and spiritual
    5. Note carefully that he did not blame Martha and praise Mary but emphasized the condition of the soul.
    6. Activity not based on spirituality will distract


    1. Mary was no contemplative mystic - original clearly shows she also had served for a time. When action needed, was just as ready as Martha (John 11:29, 12:3)
    2. Mary had grasped more clearly the relative importance of earthly and heavenly things.
    3. It was not a comparison between bad and good or not having Christ and having Him.
    4. It was indicative that Martha's was not wrong action instead it was the right action in the wrong spirit and at the wrong time
    5. Real difference lay in motive - one duty, the other love.
    6. Her attitude was that of lowliness "at Jesus feet"
    7. Her attitude was that of learning - "Mary heard His word"
    8. Love - "hath chosen" - fellowship involves more than discipleship or teaching -means definite act of will and devotion
    9. We need to have the Mary spirit because of sin which causes us guilt, weakness and inability to respond to God's claim.
    10. We need personal relationship between soul and Christ - brief hours of fellowship should come first.
    11. What she did was "precious" - leads to salvation, sanctification, satisfaction and service
    12. It is permanent -"its shall not be taken away.


  • There is no right or wrong in this
  • Someone may pray -
    Lord of all pots and pans and things,
    Since I've no time to be
    A saint by doing lovely things
    Or watching late with Thee,
    Or dreaming in the dawnlight
    Or storming heaven's gates,
    Make me a saint by getting meals
    And washing up the plates.
  • God needs both Mary's and Martha's
  • These verses show something else. They show us the wrong time of kindness
  • Jesus was going to Jerusalem to die
  • Martha wanted to celebrate it by laying on the best the house could give
  • Jesus did not want that - he wanted to be quiet
  • I don't want a big spread, the simplest meal is what I want.
  • Mary understood the spirit of Jesus, Martha did not
  • He is asking us to do the good part
  • To deliberately choose to take in his word
  • To full service
  • To be absolutely surrendered
  • To continual fellowship.

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