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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Woman: Martha Of Bethany

Tired in the Kitchen

Martha is a worker bee.  She’s the kind of person who always has too much to do.  Yet she keeps taking on more and more.  Somebody has to get it done!

In the New Testament, Martha of Bethany (and her sister Mary) are two of Jesus’ best friends.  And when Jesus visits their home, the text refers to it as Martha’s home, which is fairly remarkable.   Martha appears to be a property owner – an unusual position for a First-Century woman.  How did she become the head of her household?  We really don’t know.  She may have been a widow, or she may have been caring for younger siblings.  But we do know this – at the end of the day, Martha is in charge.  And she seems to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders.

If we brought Martha in a time capsule to the Twenty-First Century, I think she’d fit right in.  On any given day, most of us feel like if we don’t get it done, nobody will do it!  And, yes, like Martha, we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. 

Last Sunday night, I collapsed after a long weekend of laundry, carpool, cooking, packing, unpacking, hosting guests, and driving my son to church camp.  My 7-year-old daughter, Anna, looked at me and said,

“Mom, are you glad you finally get to rest?  After all, you have to do everything!”

A girl after my own heart, I thought to myself.

All of a sudden, I could relate to Martha. I do have to do everything, don’t I? I wanted to give Anna a gold star for getting it right.  At least someone notices my effort!

Like Martha, we all crave validation.  In fact, when Martha was running around in circles trying to “do it all” it really irritated her that Jesus didn’t give her a pity party.  He didn’t even order her sister Mary to help.  Instead, he basically told Martha to lighten up.  

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details.  There is only one thing worth being concerned about.”  Luke 10:41-42 (NLT) (Emphasis mine)

We know from the New Testament that Martha continued to follow Jesus, even after he told her to get over herself.  She probably continued to work hard to keep her household running, but more importantly, she learned that the one thing -- her relationship with God -- was more important than trying to do and be everything. 

Have you taken hold of the one thing?  Or are you still focused on everything else?


Amy Sullivan said...

I'm trying Susan, I'm trying!

I don't want to be Martha- but oh, being Mary is such a struggle. I do want that validation, and I confess to getting caught up in it all of the time.

Heidiopia said...

That, dear Susan, is the 100,000 dollar question! I strive to be Mary, but the truth is that we live in a Martha world. I keep working at it-- focusing on the ONE TRUE THING that is. I think that's what Jesus wants us to do-- keep working at it. He loves our effort as much as anything.

Laura said...

Oh, I do go back and forth, Susan. I waffle on this. There's a book -- Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. There are times I need to carry it around with me..!

Davis Bunn uses Martha in his Centurion's Wife book (fiction), and his treatment of her is very interesting.

Kudos to Anna, I'd say!

Susan DiMickele said...

I have read a Mary Heat in a Martha World - agree it's a great book! I need to check out Davis Bunn.

Chasity said...

I am just in the second chapter of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. And I am asking myself, asking God, what does having a Mary heart look like for me, how do I live that out, when I identify soooo much with Martha.

I'm so glad you found my blog, because I've found yours. I am greatly looking forward to reading your book. There are not many books out there on being a Christian working mom.

Hope to get to know you better!

Miss. Candy said...

Thank you for this post, it was just what I needed!!!

Dave said...

Today is the feast day for Martha. Good timing!