Mary or Martha?
Posted by Rod Neufeld on July 10, 2015
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman namedMartha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.(Luke 10:38-42 KJV)
I see an opportunity to show a common condition Christians often suffer from in this scripture. You see, we are overwhelmed on a daily basis with our needs in this world, the distractions of the world and our effort to serve the Lord. These two sisters give us a great example of that.
Martha is more concerned about everything being right and taken care of. So much so that she is anxious and overwhelmed. This is like us in the Church when we run around and get busy. So busy, in fact, that we lose sight of the purpose of our business! Programs to run, food to prepare, clean up needed and so on. Now, these things need to be done, but we need to recognize the “why”.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV)
Whatever task we take on in our lives we are to do to the Glory of God. The purpose and focus for our lives is to honour and glorify God in Heaven. That should be our hearts direction and we should be focused on Him in all things at all times.
This also goes for the distractions of the world. We see Christians focusing on things that may be important and I’m not going to be distracted by the details here. In the big picture, though, where does their importance lie? Is focusing on the things with which we disagree more important than the furtherance of the Gospel? Did Jesus say, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel except when you need to protest and riot because it’s the ok for you to put Me aside and do my job for Me?” I’m pretty sure the answer is, “no”. I’m not saying be quiet and be walked on, however we need to have our priorities straight. Which I believe was the point our Saviour was making to Martha.
Oh, and Martha remember: Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (Philippians 2:14 KJV)
Which brings us to Mary! We don’t really get to see the before picture here so I am going to assume that she did just nothing. Perhaps, but we don’t know. We do however know what she did! Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and hung onto every word that came from his mouth. Her focus was on Christ. Therefore it was on eternity and the kingdom of Heaven.
Keep in mind at this time in history the Roman government was in control. The Pharisees hated Jesus and wanted to kill him. Anyone associated with Christ was looked down upon and condemned just for knowing him. Through all of this, Mary had her heart, mind, eyes and ears focused entirely on Christ.
So you see, it was not really much different than today. Morality in the Roman Empire was pretty much non-existent and the great majority of the people didn’t really want to know God.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5 KJV)
The time described by Paul was back in his day and is also our present. This is the fallen human condition and there is only ONE CURE: JESUS CHRIST, SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD.
Yes, the world can really suck at times. We are not called to fix it, we are called to serve a MIGHTY AND MERCIFUL CREATOR! There is a war raging for the souls of people and we are on the front lines. We must be focused on serving and obeying our commander and chief, the Lord, God almighty, not distracted by the things and attitudes of this world.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV)
So, will you be:
A distracted and anxious Martha, consumed by the struggles around you and be focused on the PROBLEM?
Or will you be a Mary, eyes fixed on the Saviour and focused on the SOLUTION?
I leave you with the words of a wonderful hymn that pretty much encapsulates the point I’m trying to make:
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well;
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus – Helen Howarth Lemmel, 1922 (Public Domain)