(1) She has taken on too many “tasks” (“ministries”).
(2) She is in rivalry with her sister, focused on what Mary is or isn’t doing.
(3) She employs the age-old tactic of trying to triangle someone else into her relationship with her sister, asking Jesus to take her side and intervene — in other words, to unify themselves against Mary.
Jesus doesn’t bite and gently chides Martha to take the “better part,” the better course for steering clear of the unproductive way she has chosen. Martha should imitate Mary’s focus on learning from Jesus the way of steering clear of rivalries. He is the one person above all in whom our focus and fascination can begin to untangle us from our webs of rivalry. He is the one who came to do the desire of his Father without rivalry.
When we learn to imitate him, we become more focused on what is most needful to do, the most needful tasks of ministry (diakonia).
We are more apt to notice those who are half-dead and to respond with compassion, as did the Good Samaritan. Our distractedness from too many tasks can find the true priorities for service. And being rooted in Jesus also helps us to begin to disentangle from our many rivalries — without triangling Jesus into them.
No, when we are able to attend to a healthy relationship with Jesus, we can find the healthier ways to more directly attend to and mend our relationships with others.