Martha or Mary?
This story about the working Martha has been given to us by Luke directly after the parable of the Good Samaritan as perhaps a defense against people assuming that salvation can be gained by works. 38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 10:38. If this were in chronological order the story wouldn’t be told yet because Jesus was still a distance from the capitol. Notice that it is Martha who welcomes him. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 10:38. Now we all know how important it is to welcome guests into our home. Often times we greet people to show love and affection. Giving of food is a great way to make a guest feel welcomed.
I find it interesting that it then says that she had a sister. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 10:39. Do any of you have a family member who does not carry their weight? Lets ask about church members who do not carry their weight, lets not. Think about poor Martha, if we are going to make this Jesus feel welcome we have got to pull together and make him feel welcomed and loved with our hospitality. Is that not our message here at this church? It can be so frustrating for workers when they cannot find help. Sometimes we have many leaders and no workers. Sometimes you have many workers but no one to lead them. Which story is most frustrating? That depends on your perspective doesn’t it? I am here today to tell you that it is important to have people organizing and working to establish hospitality and gifts that are a blessing, but these things should be placed in their order as Jesus tells His followers in this passage.
English Standard Version (Chapter 10)
40 But Martha was distracted with much serving.
I stated last Sunday that I was distracted and I asked if you also had some things distracting you from worship. Now here we are a week later and a passage later discussing distractions. I would say that Martha had two distractions. The first was here business, which is necessary if you are part of the welcoming committee. The second distraction is probably more important because Martha is distracted with anger that is aimed at her sister for not assisting her in the kitchen. Martha’s work has taken center stage and nothing else matters. She has taken her affairs and placed them above others. This can happen very quickly and without warning. We are all good at what we do and what we do can become more important than anyone else’s actions. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 10:40.
The answer that Jesus offers Martha is not easy to take. At this point we can choose to learn from Jesus or be put off by the lack of support in our mission. Ask yourself, what is the mission, really?41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Lk 10:41–11:1.
Take homes-leaders in churches and homes need to be strong and able. The Bible tells us that when we are infants we were fed by our mothers and we were on milk but when we mature we must move on to solid food. 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Heb 5:13–14.
Going on to maturity.