Doing a Martha

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Martha is much maligned. Yes, the Lord did rebuke her for getting so uptight about the meal she was preparing for thirteen men (and what hostess wouldn’t be?) that she missed the spiritual meal that came from sitting at Jesus’ feet. Yes, she did that.

But by the time we get to John 11, we find a different Martha. We find a woman with whom Jesus discussed the resurrection. Hmmmm, she must have been sitting at Jesus’ feet to have gotten that intelligent in a world where women were hardly educated in anything but washing, cooking, hauling water, and having babies.

It was Martha who said: “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world” (John 11:27). Martha didn’t pick up that bit of good theology by scrubbing floors.

As Jesus and His disciples approached Bethany, His arrival was announced at the house where Mary and Martha were mourning the loss of their brother, Lazarus. This time it was Martha who dropped everything and rushed out to meet Him. It was in the middle of a dusty road that He and she had their theological discussion on the resurrection, and where Martha, the maligned, made her great confession of faith.

Here is a disciple to take note of.

Jesus valued the Marthas. When He rebuked her, it was not her industry that He rebuked, but her anxiety. At the same time He wanted her to get her priorities in order. The service of a Martha that is pleasing to the Lord grows out of the commitment of a Mary to sit at Jesus' feet. If we are to be industrious in the service of the Lord, we need to start at His feet where He can teach us to rest in Him, to enjoy Him, to learn from Him, and then to go out, in His strength, to walk as He walked and serve as He served.

This is how it works.

LEAN on Jesus.

LISTEN to Jesus.

LEARN from Jesus.

LOVE Jesus so that you can love others.

LEAD those others to Jesus.

From the passage in John I’d say that Martha was getting the hang of it. At the end of the conversation with the Lord it was Martha who went back to the house and told Mary to get out there and talk to Jesus!

It’s a simple, practical, and biblical plan for a spiritual journey.


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