I am a Martha. I like prepping for parties even more than attending them. Setting out sandwiches and pouring tea are right up my alley. Even doing the dishes can be a pleasure to me. (But don’t tell my marvelous dish-doing husband.)
Are you a Martha, too? Ever felt almost guilty about stealing away to serve? Today I’d like to take a few moments to look at that much maligned woman in a different light. Here’s the passage from Luke 10: 38-42.
“Jesus…came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
Here’s what I see in this passage. Jesus didn’t say, “Martha, cooking and serving aren’t important.” What he said was, “You are worried and upset.” The passage also says she was distracted. I get that. I’ve been there.
Worried—bad. Be anxious for nothing, remember?
Upset—not part of our Lord’s plan. We’re supposed to cast our cares on him.
Focused more on our service than on our Savior—sure to get us in a mess.
And then, of course, there was that whole “I’m mad at my sister thing.” We Christians have to stop thinking everyone needs to be involved in whatever God has called us personally to do, as if our calling is the only important one.
But here are a few other tidbits to consider:
This scenario took place in Martha’s house. Her hospitality was key that day. Hospitality is a good thing.
The story of the Good Samaritan is told earlier in the same chapter. There was some serious service going on in that situation, and it was a good thing, too.
My takeaway? We are meant to serve. We are wired to serve, maybe some of us more than others. And we should go for it whenever we see the opportunity and feel the Holy Spirit leading us there. But we should go to the task in peace and joy, focused on the One who served us by giving us his very life. If, in the process, someone says, “Hey, Martha!” with a bit of a grin, we can smile back and know that “Party by Marty” is sometimes just what the Lord has in mind…
Here’s some great extra info from my awesome proofreader. (Thanks, Trisha!)
The action words surrounding Martha are “welcoming” and “serving,” but also “distracted” and “worried.” Despite that… Jesus’ action to her is “Jesus loved.” (From The Strongest NASB Exhaustive Concordance)
It is God’s will “that we attend upon the Lord without distraction” (1 Corinthians 7:35 KJV).