Sunday, November 10, 2013

Martha Missed It!

by Donna L. Watkins

We have all heard the Martha and Mary account in Luke 10:38-42. Especially those of us who would be pegged as a Martha. I have pondered this over the many years that I have been simplifying life to a state where I can keep my peace and not be busy over many things.

The more I consider what is really necessary to be on the Doing List, the more I realize that life goes a lot more smoothly if we don't travel on the maddening path of the ever-busy Western world lifestyle that seems to be a mad rush for accomplishment.

Jesus said that "he that is greatest among you shall be your servant" (Matthew 23:11). All of the achievement and motivational programs don't seem to fit into the philosophy of Christ.

Let me give you the Scripture reference for the story of Mary and Martha:

"Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her." -- Luke 10:38-42

The first thing I noted was that Martha was "troubled about many things." This was not just about having Jesus there, she was a women who may have stayed troubled over many household affairs, wanting things to always be just right. Boy, can I relate to that! Anybody else?

Hospitality was very important in that culture and Martha was one who may have been living for perfection.  We can easily get caught up in that if we've been exposed to any of the media advertising over the past 50 years. We have certainly been a "one up" society of consumers.  That's one area of life I have refused to enter into since I do not like keeping up with a lot of stuff.  The good side to my needing everything in order ... less is more.

Maybe it all began when folks starting talking about "keeping up with the Joneses." Who were the Joneses anyway? Mr. Clean certainly lived at their house and they definitely didn't think of the word simple in their lifestyles. They weren't only first in purchasing all the new gadgets, but also overdid on hospitality.

I remember growing up in the 50's when people would drop by just to chat. You were a gracious host to offer something to drink and if they stayed awhile, you might ask if they'd like some chips or a piece of fruit. Now we've become so sophisticated that hospitality means a menu and a scramble to clean up the entire house.

Take Time To Rest!
© Donna L. Watkins
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The Joneses are now serving organic gourmet appetizers that provide enough food to have been considered an entire meal at our house when I was a child. So, the end result is that many people feel too inadequate to have folks drop in for a chat. The trend is to "do lunch" somewhere in a crowded place that definitely doesn't have the warmth and comfort of a home.

What's interesting with Martha is that this wasn't Jesus' first visit. The Bible refers to Him spending time in Bethany quite often. Lazarus is mentioned as a friend to the disciples in John 11.

There was no reason for Martha to be fussing over them. They weren't used to fancy fare. What is most interesting to note is that this conversation happened after the time period of when Jesus fed 5000 men (besides women and children) with five loaves of bread and two fish in Luke 9:10-17.  The Bible tells us this was in Bethsaida which is only a few miles from Bethany where Martha lived.  Surely the news of that miracle spread like wildfire.

As I read what Jesus said to Martha when she asked Him to tell Mary to help her, I saw it in a new light. He told Martha that "one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part." Surely there was food in the house but simplicity was not on Martha's mind. Even if there was only one small loaf of bread and a bit of olive oil, Jesus could have multiplied it for the guests in the home. Obviously Martha was anxious about many things and did not find peace for her heart or mind.

That doesn't mean Jesus didn't condemn Martha, but rather was exhorting her for her own good.  When the Lord deals with problem areas in our lives, it is always for our profit - not punishment and we should not take it as rejection. This is one way to discern God's correction from the devil's condemnation.  John 11:5 tells us that "Jesus loved Martha..."

I have found this verse to be of great comfort since when the steps are followed to put our care on God, we gain and enjoy peace in our hearts and minds.  I believe when we seek Him with our whole heart wanting to know more and more of Him, many of our tasks won't make a big difference in our lives.  Often women find their self-worth in how they keep up the home or how they entertain.  Once we find true love and acceptance in Christ, there is no longer a need outside of Him for fulfillment.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." -- Philippians 4:6-7

That's a great promise and one that can be enjoyed by anyone who chooses to believe the Word. The problem is that people can't believe the Word because they find themselves so anxious much of the time with the pressures of this world dominating their hearts and minds.

I have many similar accounts in my life when I chose tasks above the Master who was speaking to me, but I am finding that when the Master is first place in my day, all else is well. Martha missed it! The peace of God passes all understanding.

Related Article:  
Life Is In The Being, Not In The Doing

Author Bio
Donna lives in Central Virginia with a wonderful husband and a cat named Squeek. She is a lover of God, nature, wildlife, birds, gardening, photography, travel, simple living, natural health, pets and seeking a peaceful, healing lifestyle. Life has many hurts and sorrows but within "the [divine] nature in us" we CAN overcome. You can also find her posts on Google+ and Twitter.

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