There is something in this story for all temperaments and tendencies. We could read it as a story that commends not allowing service to distract us from prayer and study. We could also, coming to Martha's defense, remember that we are not to use prayer and study as a free pass to avoid service. When both are focused on Jesus, they interact and mutually energize one another. Like family members working together to welcome one another and to prepare a meal together.
We serve Jesus by spending time with him. We serve him by treating him in the manner he deserves to be treated as an honored guest. That means focusing on him and doing his will in this world. That is the "main course" that the Martha and the Mary within our own selves and community work together to prepare.
"Keep it simple. We want to spend time with you, not have you wait on us."
I take my daughter's comments seriously. They don't mean that I prepare any less carefully. I just keep my preparations focused on the goal of the gathering and I keep it a little simpler so I'm not distracted while she and the family are in my home. That way I can focus on listening to them and enjoying their company. That is the way to treat honored guests.
Howard Marshall, The New International Greek Commentary on Luke.
Stephanie Frey, "Living with Martha," The Christian Century, July 13, 2004.