This morning I found myself being led to go and read the story of Martha and Mary again. One of the reasons is because the Lord has convicted me recently on my lack of listening. I have a tendency to be Martha sometimes more than Mary. I am a fixer. It is in my DNA to be a doer, and not someone who sits around. I have to be busy, doing something. I will say over the years I have
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One thing she said to me today, and I needed to hear it is that I am Martha. You see, she is my Mary. She is the one who brings me back to where I need to be- focused on Jesus, sitting at His feet. She is right in every way because I get ahead of myself, and I get ahead of God more times than I care to admit. So, after our conversation I went and I opened my Bible to Luke 10 where I found, once again, the story of Martha and Mary. I prayed and humbled myself before the Lord, asking Him to speak to me, to give me ears to hear what it was that He wanted to say to me, and to open my heart to listen to Him. This is what I believe He is speaking to me.
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.”
Martha means “she was rebellious”. I found this interesting because I too am rebellious. I have a streak of strong willed thinking in me, and I hate it- but it is there. It is part of my old nature and I desire above anything that the Lord would free me from this rebellious streak! We all have this in us, whether we want to admit it or not. We all have streaks of rebellion and strong willed minds want to do what we want to do instead of what Jesus wants us to do. I battle this mind daily! But I won’t get into that, not today. The first step towards putting to death our old man is to accept and realize that he needs to be put to death. Then the Lord Jesus Christ, in His timing and through His Holy Spirit will do the work that needs to be done in us. I am confident in this. (Philippians 1:6)
The next thing the Lord showed me was that Martha welcomed Jesus into her home; she received Him as a guest into her house. How many of us have welcomed Jesus into our hearts, but have left Him as a guest, instead of allowing Him to be Lord and King over our homes and our hearts? Jesus is welcomed into our homes, but when it comes to our wants and desires, we make Him a guest and not Lord. Martha had not fully allowed Jesus to take complete control of her heart yet. To her He was still a guest. This convicted me because there are areas of my life that I have allowed Jesus to be a guest, but not Lord. There are closets in my heart that I have not quite let Him explore yet. I shut the doors and hide the depths of self in the darkness and offer Him a place that is nice and clean, not quite yet wanting Him to be more than just a guest. I offer Him tea, but no biscuits. He wants to be and has the right to be Lord of our hearts, our homes, and all of our being. He died for that right, and we must welcome Him in as Lord and not just as guest.
“And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”
Scripture tells us that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. I am a lover of God’s Word. I look forward to digging into His Word; and I am passionate about His word. But sometimes, I don’t always just sit. Sometimes I let my passion for His word clog my ears to the point where I don’t hear Him. Mary sat, which means that she rested, and placed herself near to Jesus. The metaphorical aspect of Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet refers to a saying that one would use to describe a disciple. To say that you sit at someone’s feet means that you are heeding and following someone’s teaching. Mary not only listened, but she followed. She was willing to sit and to listen, but she was also willing to take a step and follow what it was that Jesus was speaking to her.
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”
Scripture tells us that Martha was distracted with much serving. The King James Version says that she was “cumbered”. This means that she was overly occupied with the needs of others. Her focus was on everyone who had come into her home. She was busy with one thing, and that one thing was making sure that her quests were well fed and knew that she loved them. For Martha, her love was seen in her doing. Her love for Jesus was seen in her serving, not in her sitting. This spoke to me because I am a Martha, I admit it- I am. It is who I am, who I have always been, and who people have come to know me to be. But she was so focused on the doing that she couldn’t see she needed the sitting too.
To fully serve Jesus we must take time every day, as many times in a day as we can to sit at His feet. We must take time to sit in His presence, letting His Word speak to us, teach us, and guide us; molding us into His image. I get caught up in the helping aspect and I want to fix it for everyone. This once again is a part of the old nature that is still in me. There is nothing wrong with being a doer, but it is when we fail to do the one thing that is most needful that we fail to be the most helpful.
“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her.”
Jesus speaks to Martha in love. He does not reprimand her for being a doer, but instead comforts her and directs her attention back to what it most important- Him. When Jesus tells Martha that “one thing is needed” He is not referring to the serving, or the meeting the needs of others. Instead, He is referring to the need each one of us have to be built up and made strong in Him. Martha was cumbered because she was pouring out and not allowing Jesus to pour back in. That one thing that Jesus was referring to is found in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” All these things are the things that Mary was taking part in. She was listening; she was being poured into so that she could fulfill the life that Jesus had for her. The one thing that is needful in our daily lives is the building up of our faith to continue in the plans and purposes that Jesus has predestined each one of us for. Without the sitting part, we cannot fulfill the doing part.
The other thing the Lord showed me was that these women were two different women. Even though they were sisters and from the same family, He had created them for different purposes and it was okay that they were different, for He loved them both the same. There are many Mary’s in our lives, and there are many Martha’s, and both of them are equally needed and equally loved. Who we are in Christ is who we are. The Lord reminded me of a snowflake and how each one is unique in its own way, but yet when they come together on the ground they cover they make a beautiful blanket of white for all to enjoy. Each one of us is created different. How I respond to Jesus and how you respond to Jesus is never going to be the same. How I live for Jesus and how you live for Jesus is never going to be the same, because we are different and unique in our own way.
But the Lord has done this for a reason. He has placed Martha’s and Mary’s in your life for a reason. Mary reminds us to take time for Him, Martha reminds us to serve Him. But both women are needed. You may be a Martha like me, but without the balance of Mary in your life, you will become distracted, worried and cumbered. Likewise, without the Martha in your life you will become complacent and never willing to walk in what He has called you to be. Both women are equally loved; they just sit and serve differently. Don’t compare yourself with that Martha in your life if you are a Mary, and don’t compare yourself with Martha if you are Mary. Be who you are in Jesus Christ, and be both of them, equally. Amen?