Monday, October 09, 2006

Martha, Martha...

I want to be a Martha...

Now hold on, I know what you're thinking. Let me finish.

I want to be a Martha who has been lovingly reprimanded by the Savior.

She is not the same woman she was before. She now seeks the joy she was lacking before Yeshua spoke those sweet, painful, truthful words; "Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her."Luke 10:41-42
The story doesn't end here!

He knows she loves Him, and that in her rush to serve Him with the best she has to offer, she has lost the true meaning behind His definition of the word servant... sacrifice. Yet, when He looks at her, she knows He does not ask her to stop her work; only to be aware of what is most important about her work.

She is feeding a roomful of people who desperately want to soak in everything He has to say, knowing that there may be a time He will not be with them. Her error is not in overseeing the meal, or preparing the guest rooms for the numerous people that will be staying with them because of the presence of the Master; her only error is in demanding the help of her sister, who has chosen to join the dinner and listen with rapt attention. Certainly the absence of Mary in the kitchen cannot have made such a difference in the presentation of the meal; but I can see Martha's heart in my own.

"Why should I do all the work? She's just sitting there! She's as much a part of this household as I am - how dare she leave it all to me!" But Martha loves her position in her household as much as I love mine! And she can run it all with her hands tied behind her back, just as I can. (Well, maybe.) Does it make that much difference? No. And there's the rub.

She slips into a corner of the hallway and dashes tears from her eyes. The words are piercing, and angering, and truthful. Deep breath. Shall I stop what I'm doing and join the group in the dining room? No. I will finish preparing and serving the meal. But I will do it with a servant's heart this time. And when I enter the room to serve the Master, I will listen to His words and smile at my sister, and soak in what I can. I will use my position as the overseer of this household to make this time with His friends peaceful, and good. And instead of seeing my position and the resulting work as my due, I will find joy in my days, instead of obligation.
How do I know that the story doesn't end with verse 42? Because Martha goes on to give one of the most complete definitions of who Jesus is and Who sent Him in the book of John; ""Lord," she told Him, "I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God."" John 11:27
She no longer finds herself so wrapped up in what she does that she cannot see what is important. She knows.

Oh, He speaks to me in these passages. I don't stop! I fret over needless things. I throw my hands in the air in amazement at how busy I am, yet I don't take a good look at what my busy-ness is costing me. My joy. He has given me the sweet role of mama, wife, caretaker. There will be moments where I fail in my duties. But He needs me to do what I do - and He needs me to do it with a servant's heart. To make things better for others. To make things easier for them, welcoming for them, comforting to them. To be His hands.
We need Martha's. Without them, there would be no meal to laugh and discuss over. Without them, there would be no inviting guest rooms to relax in on our journeys. Without them, the household wouldn't flow smoothly.

Are you a Martha?

So am I.

Praise God. Let's find our joy.

8 fellow travelers shared:

RANDI said...

This is a great post, Elise! SO much to think about. I have always liked the story of Mary and Martha and have thought that Martha gets a bum rap sometimes--as if there is nothing good about her. Now, I might think this because I am a Martha too, but I do think there is much we can learn from her!

Kate said...

That was what I needed to read today! I am weary in doing my work today and am starting to get angry. Thanks so much for letting God speak through you today!

Christine said...

Oh, I am a Martha indeed! Thank you for this great post. So many times we hear that we shouldn't be Marthas, but someone has to be!! My day yesterday was all about being Martha without the joy. Thanks for the great reminder.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely a Martha and I know I need to sit at His feet more often.

What a great post! Thanks for this reminder.

Also, thanks for stopping by. :-)

Christine said...

Hi Elise! I loved your comments about our family time. I responded back at my blog. Have a wonderful day!

Andrea said...


I stumbled on your blog from Katherine's (Raising Five) site.
I so identify with you in this post. wonderful thoughts.

Pam in Colorado said...

Hi! My name is Pam and I am a Martha.

It was refreshing to see that you believe Martha was doing what she should have been, it was her attitude that was off. I never felt right about the glib answer that we should not be Martha's, this is who God made me to be. I just need reminders that it is a joy to do what I do and not a burden. My heart and ear needs to be on my Lord and not on my mind's complaints.

denice said...

love this post elise, but I;m a mary! this helps me so much. I would much rather sit at Jesus feet for hours, discuss him with cs lewis, and pray in my journal for another hour than do laundry! But we need to pursue him in relationship AND do the work that he has called us to. thanks for your insights here, I believe they are correct.

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