The handmade sign read: “Expect considerable delays. Due to equipment failure we are down to one machine. Wait time will be affected. Sorry for any inconvenience.”
Hmm. After a brief pause to consider how I should respond, I pulled my car into the line behind at least six others. Two more pulled in behind me. I guess that proves it. Coffee really is that important.
I – and many others it seems – was willing to sacrifice precious time to wait for my morning latte. Even with tasks waiting for me at the office. I wanted it that much. Do I care that much about spending time with God? I’ll sit in a drive-thru for twenty minutes to pay four dollars for espresso and milk, but hesitate to give up half an hour of sleep to tarry longer in God’s presence.
Why is that? For starters I’m a product of my environment. I bought into our harried, must-have-it-now, self-indulgent culture. But an even bigger problem is that my desire for God is just not great enough. My priorities are out of order.
I’ve got some things in common with a friend of Jesus’ we read about in Luke 10:38-42. You know the story. Siblings, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, welcomed Jesus into their home. (Actually Scripture says Martha opened her home to Him.) While Martha scurried about cooking dinner and getting the guest room ready, her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet soaking up His every word. Martha complained. There was much to do, Mary should be helping. However, Jesus lovingly pointed out to Martha that she had her priorities out of order.
It’s not that Martha was busy with wrong, evil, or even unimportant things. After all, she was preparing food for Jesus. But, spending time with Jesus was more important – and better. Unfortunately, we often chose the pressing over the important and the better.
Poor Martha. We always hold her up as an example of what not to do. But let’s look at the rest of Martha’s story. Later, near the end of Jesus’ ministry, Martha had another encounter with Him we read about in John 11:17-27. Jesus arrived in Bethany four days after Martha’s brother Lazarus died. When Martha met Jesus on the road, He engaged her in a conversation about the resurrection. When Jesus asked Martha if she believed in Him she replied, “Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world (John 11:27).”
Wow! Martha made an overwhelming profession of faith about Jesus. The only other one made before Jesus’ death and resurrection that even compares is Peter’s. Apparently Martha took Jesus’ earlier rebuke to heart. Martha must have spent some time getting to know Jesus. Her confession reveals some first-hand knowledge about Jesus.
Psalm 46:10 decorates the wall of my home office. Be still and know that I am God. Unfortunately, I’m usually moving too much to know Him as well as I should. Too many other things are more important than they should be. And I know just what Jesus would say. Kathy, Kathy, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed (Luke 10:41-
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Being a Martha I am always interested in Martha stories. I know the grief she gets. Here is a reflection on my Martha, Martha experience.
Mary sat and listened, Martha did. I learned to dislike my name intensely because I heard so many preachers berate Martha from the pulpit. Then as I got older I started berating myself not for the name but those terrible Martha characteristics I saw in myself. Why couldn’t I be more Mary? FBC was about to launched the 40 DAYS of Purpose and I was the campaign director, trying to organize 500 people into small groups when we had never done small groups before. During those same months I was involved in a huge work project where another 400 people were depending on me to lead them into the world of using the computer instead of paper in the hospital setting. I worked harder, I worked longer, each night I fell into bed exhausted usually to wake early with thoughts of what I needed to do racing through my mind. One morning at about 3 AM, I awoke AGAIN! I rolled over and tried to ignore the thoughts, roll left (a little voice said get up), roll right (not yet), roll left (come on I want to talk to you). Well sleep was gone! I pulled my weary self out of bed. Through the brain fog I could hear the gentle urging of my Father saying ‘come talk to me’ – So as I shuffled to the coffee maker I told Him, “I could really use a specific word from YOU today, something that really speaks to my heart.” I opened my Bible to the devotion for the day and read, “Martha, Martha you are worried and troubled about many things.” Ok Lord – I get it! The same words that had sounded like condemnation all those years became words of comfort and understanding. He knows me, He understands me. And then in John 11:5 it says, “Jesus loved Martha.” Now I love my name! Jesus loves me this I know! For the Bible tells me so.
Thanks for your insight Martha. I’m sure there have been times you’d rather have a different name. But “Martha” both the New Testament one and you have an incredible testimony for Christ.