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Read Luke 10:38-42 (RSV): "Now as they went on their way, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. (39) And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. (40) But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' (41) But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; (42) one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.'"
Consider. Are you like Mary, listening to Jesus' word and receiving his guidance? Are you like Martha, gifted in serving others, but becoming overly busy and anxious? What is the one thing needful?
1. Martha welcomed Jesus as a guest into her home
Luke 10:38 tells us that when Jesus and his disciples were traveling to Jerusalem, Martha welcomed him as a guest into her home. Martha was the "mistress of the house," the head of the household (Ref. 1, Ref. 2). The Greek word translated as "welcomed" or "received" in Luke 10:38 means that Martha was personally responsible for seeing to Jesus' needs while he was under her roof (HELPS word-studies - Ref. 3).
2. Mary chose to sit at Jesus feet and was listening to him
Mary, too, was eager to give Jesus a fitting reception. Luke 10:39-40 and 42 tell us that she left Martha in making preparations and instead chose [decided, made a deliberate choice] to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to his word (Ref. 4). In the ancient world, sitting at a teacher's feet -- literally and figuratively -- was the posture of disciples or learners (2 Kings 4:38, Luke 8:35, Acts 22:3, Ref. 5). By her action, Mary showed that she was willing to receive Jesus' word and give up herself to the guidance of Christ -- the one thing needful (Ref. 6).
3. Martha was distracted with much serving
Luke 10:40 tells us that Martha was "distracted with much serving." Note that "serving" [Greek word diakonia - ministry - Ref. 7] is one of the "gifts of grace" that the Apostle Paul mentions in Romans 12:6-8. Martha was gifted at serving others (John 12:1-2). However, in Luke 10:40-41 Martha became so "distracted" [literally drawn away] by the many tasks she was doing that she was drawn away from listening to Jesus and his word (Ref. 8).
4. Jesus tenderly reproved Martha for being anxious about many things
Martha asked Jesus to reprove Mary for leaving Martha to do the serving alone (Luke 10:40). Instead, Jesus instead tenderly reproved Martha, saying, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things" (Luke 10:41). Jesus did not reprove Martha for her hospitality or her gift of serving. However, Jesus did gently reprove Martha for being anxious [worried, divided, figuratively "going to pieces"] and troubled [disturbed, agitated] about many things (Ref. 9, Ref. 10).
5. Jesus commended Mary for choosing the one thing needful
Jesus commended Mary for choosing the good portion, the one thing needful. Mary chose to give undivided devotion to Jesus -- to listen to his word and to give herself to his guidance (Ref. 6).
Apply. Make time each day for the one thing needful -- Give undivided devotional time to Jesus. Listen to Jesus' word. Pray. Receive Jesus' guidance and follow his priorities for the things you will do to serve others each day.
"Cast All Your Anxiety on Him" -- 1 Peter 5:7
Barnes' notes on Luke 10:38
Barnes notes on Luke 10:39
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Luke 10:38-42
(6) "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, (7) casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB)
Consider. God willingly desires for us to cast all our anxiety on him. Have you cast all your anxiety -- all your worry and care -- on God?
The Apostle Peter is writing to Jewish and Gentile Christians in Asia Minor (1 Peter 1:1-3). Peter recognizes that they are suffering for being Christians (1 Peter 4:12-19), and he advises them, "If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name" (1 Peter 4:16). Peter exhorts the elders in the churches to be witnesses of Christ's sufferings and to be shepherds of God's flock (1 Peter 5:1-2). He encourages young people to be subject to their elders, and he instructs all of them (and us today) to clothe themselves (ourselves) with humility because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5).
Casting our anxiety on God and humility go together
Sometimes when we are anxious and are looking for an encouraging verse in the Bible such as 1 Peter 5:7, we might miss the point that humility and casting our anxiety on God go together. Peter begins verse 6 with "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God" (1 Peter 5:6). Then, in verse 7 he adds "casting all your anxiety on him" (1 Peter 5:7). The Greek word for "humble" in 1 Peter 5:6 is tapeinoó (pronounced tap-i-no'-o) and means to make low (Ref. 1) or being willing to take a low place (Ref. 2). When we humble ourselves before God, we recognize that we are not reliant on ourselves only but are dependent on God. God is the one who fills us, who lifts us up, and who cares for our every need (Ref. 3, Acts 1:8, Ephesians 5:18, James 4:10, Philippians 4:19, 1 Peter 5:7).
Casting is like throwing
The Greek word for "casting" in 1 Peter 5:7 is epiriptó (pronounced ep-ir-hrip'-to) and means to throw (Ref. 4). This word in Greek occurs only twice in the New Testament (Englishman's Concordance - Ref. 4). Before Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Luke tells us, "They brought it (the colt) to Jesus, and they threw [cast] their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it" (Luke 19:35, parentheses and brackets added). In the same way the disciples throwing their coats on the colt was a one-way trip for the coats, casting our anxiety on Jesus should be a one-way trip for our anxiety.
We are to cast all of our anxiety -- not just parts of it -- on the Lord
In 1 Peter 5:7 the Greek word for "anxiety" is merimna (pronounced mer'-im-nah) which means cares and worries -- anything that fractures and divides a person's (our) being into parts (HELPS Word-studies - Ref. 5). In 1 Peter 5:7, merimna [anxiety] is singular and unites all of our cares and worries into one whole (Ref. 5, Ref. 6). Jesus' explanation of the parable of the sower in Matthew uses the same singular form of merimna. "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the one who hears the word, and the worry [anxiety] of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful (Matthew 13:22, brackets added). The fact that our anxiety -- the whole of it -- chokes the fruitfulness of God's word in us is a good reason for us to accept God's invitation to cast all our anxiety on him.
Because he cares for us
Peter gives the reason why we are to cast all our anxiety on the Lord -- because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). The Greek verb translated as "cares" in this second part of 1 Peter 5:7 is meló (pronounced mel'-o) and means pays attention to, is concerned about, gives thought to (Ref. 7). The God who cares for the sparrows cares for us as well (Matthew 6:26, Matthew 10:29-31). David wrote, "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me" (Psalm 40:17 KJV). The God who loves us so much that he gave his Son to die for us invites us and welcomes us to cast all our anxiety on him (John 3:16, Romans 5:6-8, Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7).
Apply. The main way we cast our anxiety on God is to pray to, thank, and trust God. Pray to God and tell him your needs. Thank him for his answers (Philippians 4:6-7). (Have a continual "attitude of gratitude.") Trust God that he will take care of your concern according to his will and timing (1 John 5:14). Tell others how God has answered your prayers (Psalm 66:16). Your testimony describing how God has helped you will encourage others. Pray, thank, trust, and tell.
"The Peace of Believing Prayer (Philippians 4:6-7)"
"Blessed Be the Lord Who Daily Bears Our Burden" -- Psalm 68:19
"Jesus' Invitation - Come to Me and Rest" -- Matthew 11:28
Barnes' Notes on the Bible - 1 Peter 5:6
Meyer's NT Commentary on 1 Peter 5:7
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