I’ve always been a sucker for ice cream cake. Growing up every year, without fail, my family would get me a ‘Baskin Robin’s’ ice cream cake on my birthday. As soon as I blew out the candles, I would look at my mom and ask her to give me the corner piece. The corner pieces are my favorite. I feel like they have the most frosting and flavor. To me, the corner piece of an ice cream cake is the better part. Then there’s my sister, who when she grabs a piece of watermelon always wants, what she calls, the “end pieces.” My sister has some strange complex against seeds (even the small little white ones in watermelon) so she asks for her better part of the watermelon, which has little to no seeds of any kind. She’s a strange one, I know, but I digress. We all want “the better part.” Whether it’s cake or watermelon, certain seating, salary, or the new car, we always look to have the better part because it’s what we deem the appropriate thing for ourselves. But what happens when we don’t know what the better part is?
There’s a story found in Luke 10:38-42. It is about two sisters, named Martha and Mary, who opened up their home to Jesus. Mary decided to sit at the feet of Jesus listening to him speak, while Martha took on the preparations that had to be made for the special guest. At a glance it seems both sisters were each doing something important. Mary was listening to her Messiah and Martha was caught up serving for the special occasion. Martha though, felt that in that moment her contributions were “the better part” and decided to complain to Jesus. “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Earlier I asked what would happen if we don’t know what the better part is? You can always count on the Lord to tell you. He did with Martha. Jesus responded, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The Lord’s response to Martha shows that Mary chose what is better. It seems a little unfair right? I mean who else was going to do the cooking and cleaning? Who was supposed to set the table? Yet the response is so clear, that sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to Him speak was the better part. How often does this happen in our chaotic lives? We are trying to juggle so much and all of it seems so important, but all along Jesus is like umm Hello I’m the better part, over here, pick me, pick me! You see Martha had every good intention in what she was doing, but even then the Lord was saying I’m the better part. No matter how important an activity may be, or how good it seems, if we use it as an excuse to hold God at a distance, we are not choosing the better part. Sometimes in our eagerness to serve Jesus, we almost miss the opportunity to know Jesus, just like Martha. Mary chose what was better and a promise was made to her as a result. You and I can follow in her footsteps