Devotion for Luke 10:38-42 | Proper 11–Year C

Today’s Gospel is Luke 10:38–42, which is the account of Jesus’ interaction with Mary and Martha. We focus on this text with a devotion from the Arch Book Jesus Visits Mary and Martha.

Scripture Readings

Genesis 18:1–14
Psalm 27
Colossians 1:21–29
Luke 10:38–42

Devotional Reading

When reading about Martha and Mary, our tendency is to hold up Martha as a symbol of what not to do—that is, don’t get so busy that we lose sight of the main thing. But when we look at this account in its context—after the parable of the Good Samaritan and before the teaching of the Lord’s Prayer—we might feel a bit more charitable toward Martha.

In Luke 10:25–37, Jesus teaches about serving others, even our enemies. He tells us to “go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). He encourages us to be generous and kind, to go out of our way to help those in need.

Immediately following, in Luke 10:38–42, Martha is doing what is expected of her. She honors Jesus as her guest, welcomes Him and His followers into her home, and works to serve them. After all, we are told that “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:17).

Martha’s missteps, however, are allowing worry and resentment into her heart and not recognizing “the good portion” (Luke 10:42) Jesus offers. This is something we can all understand even as we try to sit and listen at our Lord’s feet. How many of us have had fretful thoughts as we are settling into the pew or as we are admonishing our little ones to pay attention (or at least be quiet) during worship? Nevertheless, even while our hands are busy, we gladly hear and hold sacred the Gospel, which cannot be taken from us.

As we go about fulfilling our vocations, may we do so in faithful response to Jesus’ invitation to receive Him in His Word, to be renewed by His grace, and to be refreshed for service in His name. To Him be the glory!


Hymn is “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart” © 2017 Concordia Publishing House.

Devotional reading is from the Arch Book Jesus Visits Mary and Martha, page 16 © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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