Mary and Martha were two women who also enjoyed entertaining. A frequent guest was Jesus. For Mary, hospitality was all about paying more attention to the guest himself than anticipating his hunger or comfort needs. She was more interested in listening and talking than the cleanliness of her home or serving the meal while it was still warm. She let her older sister Martha handle those details, so in the two of them, we see two different approaches to entertaining. Mary loved the participation, and Martha loved the preparation. In service to Jesus, we must be both a Mary and a Martha. We are called to stop and listen and then to action.
When we read about Mary in Matthew 26: 6-12, we find that Mary has learned to put her love for Jesus into action. Here we see her washing His feet with perfume and wiping them with her hair. She seemed to understand, even better than the disciples, why Jesus was going to die. Jesus said that people everywhere would read and talk about Mary’s act of love and adoration as an example of costly service for Him.
The passage causes me to stop and think about the kind of hospitality I give Jesus in my own life. Am I a Martha who is so busy with life and activities that I have no time to stop and meditate on His words? Or am I a mature Mary who listens to His word and shows her love for the Savior with loving acts of worship and service? It is the mature Mary’s kind of service that Jesus longs to receive from each of us.