Poor Martha

David Gaunt

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!” ’Martha, Martha.’ The Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”  Luke 10:38-42

It’s not often that I find myself trying to defend someone in the Bible that Jesus is scolding.  I must say, I do usually take Jesus’ side.  Whenever He’s going after the self righteous Pharisees, I clearly see His point, and often think He was too nice.  But in the above passage, I feel for Martha.  In fact, I’d like to argue her case for a moment.

In Luke 10:38, it says that it was Martha’s house and that she was the one to initiate the hospitality, “Martha opened her home to Him.”  Martha greatly admired Jesus and was willing to put her money, time, and labor, where her mouth was.  Martha was the kind of person we all want on our team.  Martha was responsible; she took upon the burden and risk of not only hosting Jesus, but the whole crazy entourage that went with Him.  Remember the hole in the roof in Capernaum (Mark 2:1-4).

Mary is obviously a freeloading slacker.  She seems to live with her sister, yet guess who is doing all the work?  You’d think she’d appreciate her sister a bit more.  But even more so, you’d think Jesus would appreciate Martha.

How could Martha not be “distracted?”  Someone had to make the preparations.  They wanted to eat, didn’t they? Eventually the fire had to be started and tended to.  Beds aren’t made by themselves (wait a minute, I think I’m quoting my mom now).  Anyway, I know what it’s like to be distracted.

I also know what it’s like to ask Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care?…” only for Him to indirectly say, “No” like He does here with poor Martha.  Instead, Jesus confronts me… I mean, Jesus confronts Martha.

Jesus says, “Martha, Martha,” but I hear, “David, David, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one this is needed.”  Is it possible that I have intimacy issues?  That I use my business so I can be in the room with Jesus serving Him, but not focused totally on what He wants to say to me?  Nah!!  I still wish everyone would stop picking on me… I mean Martha.

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