Luke 10:41

ESV But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,
NIV Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things,
NASB But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;
CSB The Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things,
NLT But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!
KJV And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

What does Luke 10:41 mean?

The story of Mary and Martha directly follows the parable of the good Samaritan. In that parable, a priest and a Levite fail to show minimal hospitality to a half-dead man left on the side of the road. A Samaritan—supposedly the wounded man's cultural enemy—goes above and beyond, using his own resources and money to make sure the man receives the highest care possible (Luke 10:30–37).

Here, Jesus corrects Martha's attempt to go above and beyond in showing Him hospitality. This is not because hospitality is unwarranted, but because her heart is misaligned. While she means well, and what she does is "good," it is not "best" in this situation. She is "distracted" (Luke 10:40), "anxious," and "troubled." The priest and Levite were distracted, as well, and so neglected to do the "good portion" (Luke 10:42). The Samaritan loved and gave the attention which was needed; so too does Mary.

So even as Jesus corrects Martha, He shows that He recognizes her. He sees her and her struggle. He doesn't simply tell her, "You're doing it wrong." He starts with, "You are anxious and troubled." Then He goes on to show her troubles are self-inflicted. Jesus isn't just saying that Mary is doing the better thing. His point is deeper than a student seeking a good grade in the classroom. He's sensitive to filling Martha's deepest needs. Jesus invites Martha to join in what Mary has chosen. If Martha refuses, Jesus isn't going to sacrifice Mary and what she needs just so Martha can more easily fulfill her cultural obligations.
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