Some days I’m a Martha. I can Martha myself into a frenzy as ministry duties, family responsibilities, life management, and work pile up with lightening speed. Busy, worried, and bothered, my nerves are frazzled and my good intentions begin to feel like obligations.
Why is it that sincere purpose in serving or ministry can morph into and attitude problem? Let’s continue exploring the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10.
While Martha is seasoning the sauce and setting the table, she spies Mary who “also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.”
What does Martha do? Complain, of course!
Get irritated? Yes that too.
Manipulate to fix the problem? Umm…that too. “Lord, tell her to help me and do her part“–Luke 10:40.
Isn’t this a way we can approach issues that bother us, problems that seem to be someone else’s fault or issue? How many times have we complained and prayed for God to tell, show, make, convict, or fix someone else?
And how many times has God answered our complaint by revealing our issue or sin?
Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41-42
Let’s just get this straight:
- It’s not good if the Lord starts calling your name twice…”_____, _____”…
- When He starts listing your issues, it is best to listen.
Some things go together–Jack and Jill, peanut butter and jelly, soap and water…worried and bothered.
Worried and bothered…
The meaning of this worry word means to be anxious, troubled with cares, caring for, providing for, and seeking to promote one’s interests. Emotions, fears, and motivations come knocking at the door of worry.
To be bothered (as if I need to explain this to you) is to be troubled, disturbed, or disquieted in mind. Though these words are similar, bothered or troubled has to do with thoughts of a busy mind that gets riled up.
Martha has a very real struggle that most of us face frequently, if not daily. There is much work to be done and so many needs to be met. Work, needs, and service can take over life and wear you out. And yet serving is needed in the family and the church, and work is a given in life.
It’s easy to think about this scenario as a matter of right or wrong, good choices or bad ones. Either you sit a Jesus’ feet like Mary or you work with the frustrated, frazzled naggyness of Martha.
We have a choice.
At times we may feel that nurturing our souls is a luxury of time we can’t afford—there’s simply too much to do. When this project is done, when the kids are out of diapers, when we can cross off our tasks…then we can take time to spend with Christ.
Needs, requests, and responsibilities can multiply, but Christ shows we still have a choice. The length of our to-do list doesn’t rob us of the choice to have a deep relationship with Christ. How freeing to realize that it’s okay to take time to sit still with Christ and let Him feed our souls.
Rather than adding one more task to feel guilty about not getting done…
Do you see yourself somewhere in this story?
This is the second post in a short series on Mary and Martha. We’ll continue this series, but you can read the first post here: Four Reasons Why Serving Can Make You Resentful.