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Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Wanna Be Like Martha?


I've been talking lately about time. I am asking God to redeem time in my life. I feel like busyness, chores, duties, responsibilities all eat away precious time. I know that in heaven we will never be distracted from those we love by the dryer buzzing at us.
When I was at my busiest and craziest during my month long sabbatical from blogging, I told God I hated the duties. I hated the time crunches. I resented the responsibilities. I told God I really hated feeling like Martha instead of Mary.

God said, "Why?"

We know Martha from the famous "Mary and Martha" story. Jesus is visiting and Mary is sitting at his feet listening. Martha is busy in the kitchen making sure the guests are fed and dishes done. Martha tells Jesus she needs help and he rebukes her saying that Mary has chosen the better thing.

"But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” "(Luke 10:40-42)


Martha has been introduced.

Martha has been introduced by making a poor choice.

Martha is remembered as being a caretaker, a responsible girl, a hard worker. One who chooses duty over pure unhindered, abandoned worship.

Gee.

Did she really love waiting on guests, cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen more than she loved Jesus? I mean really on a conscious level?

I hope not!

Was she mortified that her actions would be giving a message that her heart did not feel?
I think so.


Later we see Mary and Martha again at Lazarus's death. Martha hears Jesus in coming and gets up and runs to meet him. RUNS to meet him. She finds him and questions his timing in coming for Lazarus has already died. Jesus questions her faith asking her what she believes and rebukes her again, although more gently this time. She repeats what she believes with firm conviction that Jesus is the Son of God.

Including the part where she knows her brother would surely not have died if Jesus would have come sooner. If only he would have done something. Why oh why did the Son of God wait to come to the rescue of those he loved?

"Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”" (John 11:21-22; 27)

She had to tell Jesus what she thought he did not already know. But he knew. He had already told the disciples that Lazarus's illness would not end in death. It would result in giving glory to God.

Jesus had to ask Martha who she believed he is. Lazarus got sick and died so that Jesus could show the world who he is. So that he could bring glory to the Father.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life.


Once Martha is reminded of this she can move forward. She knows how to bring glory to the Father.

She hurries to Mary and leads Mary to Jesus. Then Jesus being moved by love and compassion for his friends, heals Lazarus.

Here Martha is a leader. There were many guests at her house mourning her brother's death.

She was not cooking.

She was not cleaning.

She was not serving.

She was not putting casseroles in plastic containers.

She wasn't showing guests where the bathroom was.

She wasn't too busy serving them to leave them and go meet Jesus.

She left them.
She left them to seek comfort. To seek answers. To seek Jesus.

She left them to meet Jesus. She knew where to find him.

She not only met Jesus, she led her sister to him. She pointed her grief-stricken sister to the only One who could give peace.

Mary was so filled with grief, a whole room of people were consoling her. Martha had to be strong. For her sister, for her Savior.

I think Martha learned her lesson about serving versus loving. Every time Jesus speaks to Martha, she responds. Her heart is changed. She loves her Savior. She believes He is God. She knows He can heal Lazarus.

Oh, she questions Jesus's methods. He tells the people to move the stone from the tomb and Martha tells him to hold his nose because Lazarus has been dead for four days already. She questions his methods, she questions his ways, she questions his timing but ultimately she obeys.

She obeys.

She submits.

She humbles her spirit.

She throws off her unbelief and disappointment and puts on hope.

The stone is moved.

Lazarus is raised from the dead.

Jesus proclaims that he is the resurrection and the life.

God is glorified in Martha's life and the lives of her family.

Ultimately Martha receives her blessing. Her heart is changed. Her brother is resurrected.
Ultimately God is glorified.

Being like Martha may not be so bad.

3 comments:

Kathryn, Michael & Alex said...

That is why His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts Isaiah 55:8

Help me with my unbelief Mark 9:24

Renee Heaton said...

I think that I am a little bit of both Mary and Martha right now. I'm Mary because I feel like I have been craving to sit at Jesus' feet for months now. Stopping to just listen, grow, learn. I'm not concentrating on anything else...and this is sometimes not good! Especially that basket of socks that has been sitting there for days and nobody can find any socks....seriously.

But through this I am Martha too. He is teaching me obedience and submission of my carnal desires. He is completely and thoroughly removing those from my life...because that's what he requires...to be holy as He is holy. To be perfect. To be blameless.

I can't wait until I really am sitting at His feet! What a glorious day.

Wilhelmine Mitchell said...

I have always been a Martha, but I have always been at Jesus feet in accountability.