Luke 10 KJV (NKJV)
38 ¶ 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.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about (distracted with) much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful (worried) and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Martha the older, perhaps widowed elder sister, whose home it is provides the welcome and begins to set the house in guest mode.
· Reasonably 16 to 50 people arrive unannounced
· Martha the mistress and governess of the home takes charge
· Mary the younger, as younger often do, has heart for the guests and not for their care. This is no doubt a time of training in both the home matters and things concerning the care of guests however youth is also a time for spiritual training. Which time it is for Mary seems to be the point in contrast then clearly addressed by Jesus.
· Martha has a responsibility to provide for here household and her welcomed guests however it seems that she has placed too much importance and given all her time to work in a worried fashion so as to exclude others and even herself from attending the preaching and teaching of the Word. Some wrongly imagine today that their work to provide, although important and vital to the overall should or must take priority in their lives and family life over attending the teaching of the Word.
· We who love Jesus and receive Him into our homes can nonetheless be distracted with much serving and only approach Him with our pleas for Him to recognize our service or to make our service easier and less cumbersome.
Jesus may be willing to take much less sacrifice to get much more attention; Much less labor to receive much more heart; Much less entertainment to get much more word.
The work He gives us we can always lay back on Him but the work we give ourselves He may not wish to carry.
He is always and forever the patron of the poor and the injured and the willing.
Note how Jesus called Martha by name not once but twice, “Martha, Martha”, thus signifying that even in His correction of her focus, attitude or actions, Jesus is always caring and loving and relational.
He wished Martha and all who heard and would hear to know that those splendid things of this world to which many are attracted and care for so much were not necessarily the most important things which demand and deserve our primary focus and attention.
Also of note is that Mary said nothing in her own defense. It seems that when Christ makes our appeal or sits on the seat of decision we are best when we wait His judgment for who knows what we might need do. Humility finds peace in waiting His Word and submitting ourselves to whatever the course. Jesus is well able to defend and direct and we should always be willing to hear Him.
The posture of Mary shows her as a disciple in as much as Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel. This attests to the fact that Jesus accepts disciples based upon their willingness to humble themselves and attend to His teachings and not based on gender, age, station or state of life.
As well we see Jesus entering the house and taking a prominent seat as one who knew well that His intent was to share. We notice that Jesus and others after such as Peter or Paul entered homes and groups with a single intent to share the Gospel and to teach all those who were willing to sit and listen concerning the things of the kingdom. It would behoove us to realize that we too carry the message so dear to the heart of God and to the need of those we attend. We should therefore enter each moment of gathering with intent to share the Good News and make room with every encounter a place for the Word of God to be expounded and lessons to be learned. In this there should be no apology for the place taken by those on a mission more than to fill their bellies or lay down their heads.
Martha may not have meant to be accusatory in her approach to Jesus with her concerns however anytime conclusions are made in isolated thought and verbalized as a basis for the question presented it carries the sound of displeasure and accusation. “Dost Thou not care …” – clearly accusatory in choice of words and most likely in tone of presentation and therefore reasonably provokes a rebuke from Jesus.
Verbalizing frustrated opinions to people who have made a decision can be read in no other way than disagreement and perhaps Jesus felt Martha’s intent to correct both Him and her little sister. Martha reproached Jesus for not being more aware of what she wanted. She limited her opinions and assessments to what she needed and missed a greater truth.
Jesus gave us a hint to better understanding Martha’s approach to this situation and perhaps to life in general … Martha was an anxious and perhaps even a bossy kind of person. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” – how many things? I can reasonably imagine that her anxieties and frustrations were not limited to this one singular impromptu visit. It appears that Martha may have been a worried and therefore a worrisome person … opinionated … and perhaps convinced that her assessments were right. Martha may have been totally surprised that Jesus felt differently that she. Martha may or may not have been dramatic in here request but she was definitely passionate about her desire. Jesus responded with kindness.
Jesus had pity on Martha’s present situation but did not agree with her remedy. Jesus can feel for you without agreeing with you or giving you what you want.
So, what can we learn and take home this evening from this passage?
1. It might be better to not make your personal problems public.
2. Jesus may not want to make other people do what you think they should do. (Jesus can feel for you without agreeing with you.)
3. Don’t let the legitimate business of life get in the way of you giving time to sit down and listen to the teaching of the Word.