Luke 10: 38–42 shares the story of Jesus and His disciples visiting the home of Mary and Martha in the village of Bethany. Upon welcoming them into her home, Martha got busy with all the preparations to feed them and take care of their needs; while her sister Mary sat at the Lord’s feet. Martha, who was working hard, became frustrated with Mary. She was so busy doing for the Lord; she missed just being with Him. There is nothing wrong with Martha’s desire to please the Lord and honor Him with making everything perfect. However, she was likely doing more than He ever asked or expected of her. It’s obvious she stewed over what Mary wasn’t doing long enough to become blinded by her own agenda rather than Lord’s. She felt so justified in her anger; she tells the Lord what He needs to do. “Tell her (Mary) to help me.” When we choose the work of the Lord over time with the Lord, we become weary, discontented and sometimes we allow a little seed of bitterness to be planted in our hearts.
Many times when we read this verse we look at Martha as the one who didn’t get it, she missed what matters most; ‘poor messed up Martha’. When I read the verse, I see myself; and so many of the Christian leaders I work with. Martha loved the Lord! In John 11 we read the story of her brother Lazarus’ death. Martha expressed her love and belief in who Jesus was, “Yes, Lord. I believe you are the ·Christ, the Son of God, the One coming to the world.” (John 11:27). Here in Luke she, happily opened her home to Him and His disciples. She was working hard for Him because she wanted to make everything perfect for her Lord. She labored out of a sincere and loving heart. The problem was her preparations became more about what she wanted than what the Lord was asking of her.
How often do we do this?? We start out working for the Lord out of a sincere Love for Him, but we become so consumed with doing for Him, we don’t make time to just BE with Him. Martha loved her Lord, but by getting so caught up in her work and not making time to sit and hear His words she got off track. I love how Jesus responds to her, “Martha, Martha”. He didn’t yell at her or scold her; He tenderly calls her name and brings correction. Jesus knew Martha’s heart, He knew she loved Him.
The Lord loves us and knows our hearts as well! To stay balanced, we must stay close to the Lord; making time daily to just sit, BE in His presence. This looks different for everyone. How do you experience the Lord? Where do you best feel His presence? For me it’s walking at my favorite park on one of the many trails or when sitting on my porch swing.
Next Blog – Part 2: What Martha did right!