For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:21
This verse is a piercing truth for all of us, but do we truly take it to heart? I thought I did, but I had never honestly examined nor deeply scrutinizing what I valued and where my desires were ultimately satisfied. Being upfront and honest, Martha and I are like kindred spirits in the flesh. But it wasn’t until I actually studied her story that I saw our similarities, and then I was truly frightened. But I am grateful, because without this realization, I never would have fully grasped the perfect doctrine of Matthew 6:21. I want to study Martha’s story with you.
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 cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Let’s study more deeply into these words and gain a better understanding of the spiritual battle going on here.
Luke gives a first account of Mary and her actions, and rightfully so, for her heart was in the sweetest place. It’s not difficult to see that when the original meaning behind ‘heard’ is ‘to come to’ and ‘to understand’. Mary was connected with her Lord and wanted most to be with Him because she had come to Him, and in doing so she was given an understanding. Christ has said,
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. John 8:43
If we do not first come to His word, we will be unable to understand it. We cannot expect it to just make sense to us, nor can we rely on others to whom His word seems clear. We must individually come before Him to receive such a blessing.
Now, let’s examine Martha and her actions.
But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. Luke 10:40
The first thing the verse notes is that she was cumbered, something which sets her in contrast to her sister. Looking more deeply into the word ‘cumbered’, the original Greek describes Martha as ‘distracted’, ‘driven about mentally’, ‘over-occupied’, and ‘too busy’ (see Strong’s Concordance number G4049). And not only did she feel as if her sister was acting inconsiderately of her and the work of entertaining that needed to be done, but her busy mind drove her to actually ask Jesus to tell Mary to stop listening to Him and do something else.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41, 42
Jesus reveals to Martha that she is careful and troubled in answer to her request to Him for her sister. Again looking at the original Greek for these words (see Strong’s Concordance numbers G3309 and G5182), we can understand that what He told her was that she was disturbed and anxious over seeking to promote her own interests. The word ‘interests’ describes as vast category, and can mean anything that we feel has to be done or needs to come first. So different is Martha’s burden from Mary’s choice, which Christ says is virtuous and beautiful by reason of the purity of her heart—or what translated into our English word ‘good’ (see Strong’s Concordance number G2570). By her choice, Mary’s light shone in her house before her sister, and glorified her Father in Heaven.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good (G2570) works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16