Bible Texts: Luke 10: 38 - 42; John 11: 1 - 46; John 12: 1 - 11
As women, we can probably see ourselves in the story of Mary and Martha more than any story in the Bible.
Mary and Martha are very different women in disposition, character and temperament. Jesus loved both sisters, but they differed greatly, and each one had her own strengths and weaknesses. Most of us are probably like Martha in that we have her weaknesses. But Martha had her strengths too.
It was Martha who welcomed Jesus into their home (Lk. 10:38). This was a period of time when many Jews would not have welcomed Jesus into their home ( He came unto his own, and his own received him not. John 1:11 (KJV).Jesus "had not a place to lay His head" (Matt. 8:20). Martha is to be commended for showing hospitality to Christ. ARE WE READY TO WELCOME OTHERS INTO OUR HOMES? Heb 13:1-2 Forget not to show love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (ASV)
1 Peter 4:9 " using hospitality one to another without murmuring:" (ASV)
Romans 12:13 "communicating to the necessities of the saints; given to hospitality." (ASV)
If we don't know our brethren, how can we know what they need?
While it is good to have friends and family over, do we think of those not our friends -- members we don't know so well? Visitors to our assemblies? New members? Members who may benefit from not only a meal, but encouragement?
Do we think our home has to be spotless, or "so so" before we invite others over?
THIS IS WHAT WE TEND TO REMEMBER ABOUT MARTHA :
(Lk. 10:40 "Martha was cumbered about much serving"). "CUMBERED" -- from the Greek means "being distracted with care"; "to draw away"
In Martha's preparation and serving she became overwhelmed and that became her focus, to the point that she even reprimanded her sister and the Lord
Lk. 10:40 " But Martha was cumbered about much serving; and she came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me."
We can become like Martha and lose sight of what is proper and right. Her care and trouble cheated her out of seeking things that would bring her joy and peace. There is a saying, "Don't sweat the little stuff" -- this is what Martha did, and we can be guilty of doing it too.
Jesus came to her house, not for an elaborate meal, but to commune with her and Mary spiritually. Martha let the meal become the end she wanted to accomplish. The MEAL became the end and object of her care -- instead of being a medium to serve Jesus and to offer Him friendship.
Jesus told Martha "One thing is needful"
Lk. 10:42 "but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her" Luke 10:42 (ASV)
Putting FIRST THINGS FIRST will simplify our lives. We can "spin our wheels" doing the physical things of this life that demand so much of our time and attention, and forget what is important.
THINK -- if Martha had sat at Jesus' feet for a while, would her priorities have been more clear to her, and would her work have been easier?
Are we like Martha and afraid to "waste" a little time? We know that study of God's word is not wasting time, but our attitude can say it is.
Could our days be better served at times if we'd take the time to withdraw from the demands on us and "sit at Jesus' feet" in study of his Word, and in prayer?
I believe that Martha learned her lesson somewhat. In John 11: 20 it was Martha who first met Jesus when she knew He was coming.
"Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary still sat in the house." John 11:20 (ASV)
In John 11: 21 - 27 we see her faith. She knew that Jesus had the power to do whatever He willed. Yet, even then we see Martha's physical side and Jesus' rebuke
John 11: 39 - 40 Jesus saith, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time the body decayeth; for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
It is so easy for all of us to be like Martha and think only of the physical side of things, forgetting the spiritual.
In John 12: 2 we also see that Martha served Jesus again.
"So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him."
Looking at Martha's life begs the question, "Have we chosen the good part?" When there are times in our lives that we must choose, do we choose rightly?
We have to live in this life, and there is a physical side to us, but we have to balance that with what our spiritual priorities should be.