Sisters & Brothers

Today’s Reading: Luke 10:38-42, 11:37-54, 12:13-21

Brothers and sisters. There is something unique in our relationship with our siblings. We grow up playing together, laughing at one another, and fighting with each other. In today’s passages of scripture, we see two encounters Jesus has with siblings having a difficult time getting along – two sisters and two brothers.


As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” – Luke 10:38-42

Focus on self – Martha was distracted by her own efforts to do a good thing but the focus somehow moved from the good thing she was doing to WHO was doing the good thing – herself. Martha’s focus was on the amount of hard work SHE was doing.

Focus on others – Martha then became distracted by the lack of work that her sister was doing. Even though Martha was the one who had invited Jesus into her home, she had expectations on the other people around her. Her focus was on what other people were not doing.

Focus on Jesus – It was not enough that Martha had invited Jesus into her home. It was not enough that Martha was working hard for Jesus. What Jesus desired of Martha was for her to spend time with him – for her to sit at his feet, as Mary was doing, and listen to all he wanted to teach her. Jesus wanted her to sit in his presence and focus on him and, by doing so, build her relationship with him.


Then someone called from the crowd, “Teacher, please tell my brother to divide our father’s estate with me.”

Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge over you to decide such things as that?” Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

Then he told them a story: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. He said to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have room for all my crops.’ Then he said, ‘I know! I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!”’

“But God said to him, ‘You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?’

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” – Luke 12:13-21

Focus on self – How much can I accumulate? How much can I gain? How comfortable can I make myself? Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15).

Focus on others – How much more does he have than I have? It’s not fair! He has more than I do! Look what he is doing with his money. This is what I would do if I had that kind of money…

Focus on God – Be rich in God and in your relationship with Him instead of focusing on earthly gain.

“Yes, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth but not have a rich relationship with God.” – Luke 12:21

Jesus called the Pharisees and religious leaders out on the same kind of misdirected focus. They were focused on the outside instead of the inside. They were focused on tithing but ignoring justice and the love of God. They were caught up in the glory of their religious position instead of positioning themselves to get to know the Savior (Luke 11:37-54).

God, create in me a desire to want more of you and only you. May the luster of earthly treasures lose its shine where my heart is concerned. Create in me a heart that is generous and not greedy. May I be so filled with your Spirit that I only wish well for others. May I be more concerned about sitting at your feet and storing up a rich relationship with you than I am about anyone or anything else around me. May my focus today be on you, God, and may that focus show me the needs of others around me so that I can be used by you. Amen.