In today’s reading plan, I came across one of the most fascinating stories in the New Testament. In Luke 10, Jesus visits the sisters Mary & Martha; while Martha hurriedly takes care of the preparations, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. Jesus gently chastises Martha for having her priorities out of line.
Here’s the thing for me: I tend to be more like Martha. I’m the one trying to get things done, trying to serve others, trying to make sure all the details are taken care of before I worship. I tend to think, “Well, if Mary had helped her out, things would’ve been taken care of more quickly, and they both could spend time with Jesus.” (I think Martha must have been firstborn…) I know the moral of the story; I get the point Jesus makes, that time with Him is more important than the work we think has to be done. Yet I can’t help but identify with Martha. And if I’m really not careful, I can turn into the complainer that Martha is in this story.
I so easily get bogged down in the tasks and projects that I struggle constantly to remember the reason for what I do. On Sunday mornings I sometimes have to make myself worship because I’m so focused on the details of the service. So…yeah, I can identify with Martha.
But I think she gets a bad rap. Everybody remembers the story of the workaholic, complaining Martha, but nobody gives her credit for the other time she appears in the Gospels… In John 11, when her brother Lazarus dies, she expresses her resolute faith in Jesus as the Son of God, as the One who saves and, it just so happens, brings her brother back to life.
Which do you more identify with…Mary or Martha? Or both?