Luke 10:38–42 (NLT) As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
This well-known story is of two sisters. One is busy with cooking preparing for dinner for 13 hungry guests. The other is sitting down relaxing and listening to Jesus. Martha needed some help. It is a huge chore to provide hospitality for so many guests. And these aren’t just any guests. The Son of the Living God was going to be eating with them that evening.
When Martha complains that she needs help from her sister, Jesus tells Martha to “chill” (meaning to relax, don’t be stressed). He encourages her to make the main thing the main thing…and He is the Main Thing!
From this story Martha gets a bad rap. People think of her as inferior to her more spiritual sister. This is not a fair assessment. If this were the only picture of Martha in the Bible we might be left with that impression, but we have another story that shows her true character.
At the funeral of her brother, Lazarus, Martha is the first to run to meet Jesus when she heard He was coming. They had a conversation as Jesus comforted her in her brother’s loss. It was to Martha that Jesus said these famous words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25-26). Martha responds with, “Yes, Lord, I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.” (John 11:27). What an incredible testimony of faith! Martha was both a selfless servant and a devoted follower of Jesus.
I want to tell you about my Martha. Kathy reminds me of Martha. There are few people I have ever known who have the gift of hospitality like her. Our home is a constant place where people are kindly welcomed. She works hard to make our home warm and inviting. Right now, I’m looking at Christmas decorations meticulously arranged to make our home joyful.
Whenever there is any event at church, Kathy is behind the scenes making it happen. Every Sunday she has coffee and donuts prepared to make people feel welcome. At our Passover Seder earlier this year, she was the one who made sure everything was prepared for our 300 guests. She works tirelessly and often anonymously to make sure people are welcome and comfortable.
But the side you don’t see is that almost every day I walk into our room, and she is sitting in her chair with her Bible open spending time at Jesus’ feet. Serving Jesus by serving others brings her joy!
In this picture I’m carving the turkey—a job that puts me in the spotlight as the kids and grandkids come. But the countertops show Kathy’s work making sure everything else is ready for her family. This picture represents what Kathy is to me. She is always behind me, backing me up! Holding me up! Cheering me on! Serving me and our family, and our church family, while loving the Lord with her whole heart!
So What? Are you balancing serving with sitting at Jesus’ feet? Describe how serving and sitting would bring you joy.
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