Welcome to the Patchwork Blog! I hope you enjoy reading my random thoughts about life, Jesus and the freedom he offers.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

In praise of Martha

A week ago I posted about the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10, Lord, don't you care...?. In response I had a tweet from @WorshipLeaderUK who quite rightly pointed out that Martha gets a bad press. And it is true, she does get a bad press. This tweet got me thinking more about Martha. A lot of what I am going to say here is based on  my knowledge of myself and  it is not a Biblical exegesis by a long shot!

As I said a week ago I have a tendency to be more like Martha than Mary. The tweet mentioned above got me thinking about why I am a Martha. What is going through my head as I do things rather than simply sitting at Jesus feet?

One thing I confess is the fact that I am a people pleaser. I like to please those around me. Now this is not always a good thing. I need to learn to listen to God and to work on pleasing him more often. But my Martha attitude isn't always based on that. It is also based on the fact that I care for people. I want them to be happy and fulfilled. I want to do things that bless them. I want often (but not always  - I'm not a saint!) to put their needs before my own.

I think Martha may have been in the kitchen preparing things out of a deep love for Jesus. She knew he would be hungry and she wanted to help meet his needs. I think she probably had the gift of empathy. She could easily imagine how tired he was, and she wanted to ease his tiredness, hunger and thirst. Jesus wanted to teach her about putting herself first sometimes. She needed to know that sometimes putting yourself first leads to good things for everyone. In this case both Mary and Martha would hear the words of Jesus they needed to.

But I also got to thinking this week about John 11. In it we read about how Mary & Martha's brother Lazarus dies, and is eventually raised back to life.  Martha seems to show more faith at this point. She says to Jesus  (paraphrased) 'Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died but even now I know God will give you what you ask for'. Mary tells Jesus she knows that Lazarus would not have died had he been there but doesn't go on to say what Martha does. Martha seems to show more faith here. Her thoughts take her a little way further towards believing for a miracle, although neither sister actually knows Lazarus will be raised until Jesus does it.
I'm learning to sit with Jesus and simply watch the sunset
sometimes. What about you? What steps can you take to
 spend more time with God?

I like to think that Martha's empathy kicks in here. She knows how Jesus loved Lazarus and she therefore finds it slightly easier to imagine what Jesus is feeling. Maybe that enables her to see how Jesus would want to do all he can for his friend.

If you are more of a Martha than a Mary I'd like to suggest you look honestly at all your good points. Take time to sit at Jesus' feet and allow him to show you how he loves you as you are, and to show you how he can use you as you step out in faith.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Ahhhh, I was trying to use my new Nexus tablet to moderate a lovely comment from someone called 'Stop Binge Eating', but accidentally deleted it instead. If this is you please leave it again I didn't mean to delete it. The touch screen and I (with my clumsy big fingers) are on a learning curve together to get used to each other. The touch screen is not changing so I fear I must!

Sin, cross, forgiveness, Jesus
I have decided as a result to have a time with comments not being checked on any posts before they are left. If this proves to be an invitation to mega loads of spam then I will re think. But for now I would rather risk that then have someone think I didn't care about their (very kind in this instance) comment. 

Comments once deleted cannot be retrieved at all. They are gone for good I have now found out. This reminds me of our sin. When we come to the cross, to Jesus, and ask his forgiveness our sins are deleted. And they too cannot be retrieved. Gone for good! Amen. Isn't that good to know! 

If you are like me once you have taken your sin to the cross and is deleted you try to retrieve it every now and again. The true meaning of grace is that once it is gone it is really gone. It's like it never happened. One day I will get that into my head I hope and stop trying to retrieve forgiven sins. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Lord, don't you care...?

I was listening this morning to a Liz Babbs meditation CD. This one is called Immerse. In it she was talking about Mary and Martha from Luke's gospel, chapter 10 (v 38-42). Here is the story from the King James Version of the Bible.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha 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.

I have always been a bit of a Martha person. If there is work to be done I want to do it now, get it out of the way then I can switch off. When I read this story I so sympathised with Martha. I saw it all from her point of view. Jesus should have told Mary to go and help Martha, I thought. Then they could all sit down and enjoy his company together afterwards.  I could always see why Martha says to Him, 
Lord, dost thou not care...  It all seemed most unfair to poor Martha. I couldn't see why Mary should sit and do nothing. It seemed to me that Jesus was favouring Mary, and treating Martha badly. 

As Liz spoke on the CD today though, I had a different picture in my mind. I could see the scene as Jesus would have liked it to happen. I believe now that he would have loved for Martha to join him and Mary. He would rather they all sat together, and that both Mary and Martha would have sat at his feet, just enjoying his presence and hanging on every word. Then at some point later in the day they would prepare the things that were necessary together.  Jesus wanted them both to sit and enjoy his presence first. Mary had priorised correctly, she had chosen Jesus above all else, above the social norms and pretensions of the day. She sat and drank in the presence of the Lord, immersed totally in all he said. 

Over the last few weeks I have been in a tough situation. Since Jesus released me from food addiction last year I no longer bury my emotions. I wrote about this last year in these posts, Emotions playing catch upSpiritual Battles and Trusting in God's goodness and love. What has been tough is learning to feel difficult emotions. This has been a steep learning curve for me. It's been a tough year but I know I am learning. This have been rough recently but I am learning to spend time in God's presence just resting, and drinking in his presence as Mary did all those years ago. At times I am still worrying and fussing like Martha, but good friends sit and listen to me; they pray for me and remind me of the love of Jesus. Then I am gradually calmed again. I am glad I have had this tough time. If all had been lovely and rosy in Lynda's garden I would not have learnt these new vital skills. 

view, sunset, blessings of God
View from the window where I live. Wish I could take it with
 me when I leave (which I will be doing imminently)
Things that help me enter into God's presence are beautiful views, like the one in the picture to your left. It is the view from the window of the house I am currently staying in. I never tire of sitting in the window drinking in the view of the sun sinking into the sea (I'm not often awake enough to see it rise! ). I also listen a lot to Liz Babbs's mediation CD's. My favourite one is 'A quiet place'. I feel bathed in God's love afterwards. Sitting in the window listening  to that CD is such a blessing. 

I've switched sides. Now I want to be a Mary. I long to sit at His feet and drink in His presence. Oh, don't get me wrong. I still have my Martha moments. But I am learning and that is good. God is good!