Mary and Martha – Mary is the well known “sit at Jesus’ feet and anoint them with spikenard” girl. As I study her life, I see the qualities of a sanguine personality: sociable, charismatic, a people-pleaser. She has great spiritual insights and is immortalized by Christ for her actions; she understands and seeks “that one needful thing.” Luke 10:42)
And then there’s Martha. Dear Martha, the worried housekeeper, “cumbered about” and complaining to her Lord. Unfortunately, she is remembered for those fourteen infamous words: “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10: 40)
But if we will take a closer look at Martha, we find a lesson we all need to learn about heart service.
Three main incidences include both Mary and Martha:
- Martha’s cumbered about serving and Mary’s sitting at Jesus’ feet learning. (Luke 10:38-42)
- Martha’s conversation with Jesus before He raises her brother Lazarus from the dead. It is here that we find those beautiful words: “Now Jesus loved Martha…” (John 11:1-53)
- Martha’s changed heart about serving just days before Jesus’ crucifixion (12;1-8)
When she is first seen serving Jesus (and who knows how many others), she is serving a man – a good man, perhaps even a great man; certainly a prophet, but just a man. Her later conversation with Jesus reveals that she believes that God will do whatever Jesus asks: “… I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee” (John 12:22) She believes that God can do anything, but she has no idea of what the God-man is going to do for her TODAY! Even when Jesus asks for the stone to be rolled away, practical Martha tells Jesus that Lazarus surely stinks, being dead for four days !
Aren’t we so often like Martha? Yes, Lord, I know you saved me. I know You created the world, but Who is going to help me get through today’s problem? Martha was definitely NOT thinking that Jesus would raise Lazarus from the dead, but He does and Martha is a different servant.
The last time Martha is mentioned, she is again serving. There are no complaints this time, even though the crowd was probably bigger than ever. Her risen brother is seated with Jesus at the table, Mary is anointing Jesus’ feet, AND Martha is serving!!! I can imagine the knowing look that passed between Jesus and Martha; He’s again saying, “I love you Martha! Thank you for serving Me in YOUR way.” She now understands HOW to serve!!! What made the difference? She knows her Savior and that He is worth serving even if it means serving alone!
Do you doubt why you are serving, or have you lost sight of Who you are serving? Do you feel that your service isn’t as worthy as a more flamboyant server? Take heart, dear friend! He LOVES you! He sees your service and your heart! Remember all that He has already done in your life, and you will find the purpose and strength you need to serve with sacrifice.
Ps 103:2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: