I don’t remember the first time I heard the story about Mary and Martha, but I have always related to Martha. Even more so since “growing up”, always busying myself with things to do, never sitting at the feet of Jesus and just taking it in.
Luke 10:38-42 is the big interaction we have with Mary and Martha. Man, we give her a hard time, busying herself around the kitchen getting things ready. I was reading a commentary that said there could have been up to 70 people traveling with Jesus at the time of this story.
Just let that sink in, and if you are at all type A, a hostess, or have ever had people over right around the time everything in the kitchen is almost ready for dinner what are you like? probably hectic like Martha.
Now, I want to say that if Jesus walked into my house, 70 people or not, that I would just sit at his feet and listen to whatever he was saying. I mean, he had turned 5 loaves and 2 fishes into enough food to feed thousands of people. He really wouldn’t be depending on me to prepare food in the kitchen.
In this small account at Mary and Martha’s house Jesus says to her:
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,
but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her”
Ouch. Such gentle rebuke, but it would still cut a little to hear those words. To realize that, yes, I should choose to take time to sit at the feet of Jesus and just listen. Serving the Lord is good, but listening to the Lord is the sweeter portion.
I relate to that, so often i’m Martha, and Jesus is softly convicting me to be more like Mary.
A book later in John 11 we hear of Mary and Martha again, except this time it’s about the death of their brother Lazarus. Jesus arrived 4 days after the death of his friend, obviously the sisters were deeply grieved.
My favorite interaction is what Jesus has with Martha, he comes to her and she says:
So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
First, love that she got up to meet him. Once again, relatable.
She says: If you would have been here, my brother would not have died, BUT… and she fills in truth that she knows to be true of Jesus. That His plans are always bigger, different maybe, but still good. She trusted that even in her sorrow over her brother’s death that Jesus was still sovereign over all things. I love that.
Even in our deepest pain, we still can trust God’s sovereignty in our lives.
I love how Jesus so plainly says, your brother will rise from the dead, she doesn’t know the timing, whether that’s immediately or when Christ comes back.
Her final response is trusting God for who He is. Trusting.
I just really love Martha, I love that she has a heart to serve. I also relate to the conviction to sit and be still at the feet of Jesus and just listen.
I love that even in her pain, even the doubt that she would ever see her brother again she believes in God despite her disappointment.
Do I believe in God despite my circumstances?
That was probably one of the hardest lessons to learn over the past 5 years. That my faith in God is not dependent on my emotions. Christ’s faithfulness isn’t determined by what circumstances surround me. God is God all the time, never failing, never shaking, He is good. His ways are good.
I want to be able to respond like that. Always trusting. And you know what Jesus did in his response to her? proves who He is, and asks her to believe him. Which she does.
I think that’s a much sweeter contrast to her other appearance. I love that though, I love learning from people in the Bible that remind me they were actually human too.
I am so much Martha, but I am so thankful. I’m thankful that the Lord desires for me to sit at His feet and learn, and i’m thankful that there are times when serving is good too. I’m thankful that I can trust that He is good no matter my circumstances.
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