At Mary and Martha’s home, Jesus is treated like a guest, at least by Martha. Mary simply listens to Jesus. It’s no wonder that Martha is a little resentful, but Jesus doesn’t seem to sympathize at all. Martha worked so hard, only to be scolded for trying to make Jesus’ visit a nice one. This must have been hard for Martha to hear. After all, didn’t Jesus say, “Whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me” (Matthew 10:40)?
Mary’s gift was listening; Martha’s was hospitality. Both of their gifts are valuable in God’s eyes, as are our gifts–those of bookkeepers, students, construction workers, artists, managers, salespeople, homemakers, and retired people. Luther said that a father changing his baby’s diapers is doing God’s work. This understanding gives us a special relationship with our work, our primary way of serving God.
We don’t know what happens next, but I suspect that Jesus sat down to supper and enjoyed the wonderful meal that Martha had prepared. Her gift of hospitality was valued, as is all the work we do in God’s name.
Dear Jesus, thank you for giving me talents that I can use to your glory. Amen.