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.

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