Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Martha and Mary & Faith and Works

Luke 10: 38-42 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 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!"
41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (NIV)

Wow! A complete story and contrast of two women in 5 verses. I had the privilege of attending a women's retreat this past weekend (who can't use one of those?) where these verses were the main discussion. As a side note, thanks to my husband for taking care of the kids Fri night and Sat AND cleaning up too! Guess this weekend, I got the faith and he got the works.... ;)

I haven't completely read through all the info, but I've been doing some other reading and had some thoughts.

Martha and Mary are sisters. They lived in a time when it was expected that women would serve and not spend time learning. Martha showed her gift of hospitality by opening up her home to Jesus and the disciples. She had guests and details to take care of. Her sister, Mary, sat at the feet of Jesus listening to what he said. Martha started getting ticked off. Here she was doing all the work while her sister just sat.

But is that all Mary was doing? By sitting and listening to Jesus, she was refilling her spiritual tank and enjoying the time with Jesus. Martha was
"distracted by all the preparations" and running on empty. Martha was bound to break down. She sounds a little whiny as she comes in and asks Jesus to tell her sister to help. She was probably surprised when he told her that Mary was doing the right thing. Jesus answers Martha, "you are worried and upset about many things". This makes it sound like this is not a one time thing with Martha. It sounds like she needed a reminder of why she worked so hard.

BUT if all we do is sit and listen and don't go out and share the love that we've learned about? Then it stops with us and others will not know what they are missing.

Later, Martha is serving again and Mary serves Jesus by pouring expensive perfume on his feet and wiping it with her hair. (John 12:2-3) She was ridiculed that she had wasted a year's wages.

How many times do we get caught up in the details at the expense of spending some time at Jesus' feet? Mary had the right idea. First things first. May God give us a Mary heart with Martha's hands.

Love Jesus first so we can work more effectively and bring glory to God.

I've heard this song before called Screen Door by Rich Mullins. It talks about faith without works being as useless as a screen door on a submarine. I think this song sums up both sisters. See what you think.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It takes time and effort to build a relationship with Jesus and it definitely takes effort and discipline to avoid getting sucked into distractions of every day life that keep us from building this relationship. Things that are truly worthwhile are rarely easy! Good post, my friend.