We recently used the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37 as our primary Scripture text for a Sunday morning worship service. After telling the story, Jesus makes the life application: “Go and do likewise.”

Going and doing is an important part of what it means to love God and love our neighbors. But the next section of Luke chapter 10 offers another very important reminder. Just after Jesus says, “go and do likewise,” emphasizing the importance of showing mercy in tangible ways, giving of ourselves, and doing good work that honors God, we find this story:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “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.” (Luke 10:38-42)

As important as it is for us to “go and do,” may we also remember to “sit and listen,” as Mary did. May we remember that God’s love and grace does not depend on us – on our work, on our efforts, on our gifts. When we feel worried and upset about many things, as Martha did, may we simply sit and listen, soaking in God’s love, resting in God’s grace, and remembering “For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly” (Psalm 138:1). Indeed, we are loved by God.

— Pastor Jennifer Rygg