Thursday, March 5, 2009


"And now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said 'Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Tell her to help me'. But the Lord answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her'."
Luke 10:38-42

So many times, when I've heard this passage talked about, Martha is always looked at as the bad sister. The one whom Jesus tells she should worship at His feet instead of working in the kitchen. Martha has developed a bad reputation because of it. But I am going to propose a different side to her story. Instead of rebuking her for not being at His feet, Jesus is rebuking Martha for rebuking her sister and telling Him what to do. Martha's spiritual gifting is serving and Mary's is worship. I approached my life group with this question-Do you really think that God would ask anyone to leave their gifting behind and sit at His feet? The answer is yes and no. Yes because God wants us to spend time with Him and sit in His presence every day. And no because we live in the world still and to leave our gifting behind completely would not allow us to glorify God in the world and show His love to others. We won't be able to abandon the gifts He has given us completely and sit at His feet all the time until we're in Heaven.

I have also heard this passage interpreted as God saying that we should not serve; this kind of goes off of the previous interpretation. But guess what? That is completely FALSE. In Romans 12:4-8, we read about some of the gifts of the Spirit. Serving is listed as one of them. "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Colossians 3:23-24"

Serving comes as a Spiritual gifting by itself, but it is also a part of all the gifts of the Spirit. “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10” Whether we realize it or not, serving is a part of everything we do. An evangelist serves by giving their time to talk to people, a hospitable person serves by giving their home to others, and an intercessor serves by giving their time in prayer for others. If we didn’t serve within our own gifts then the evangelist wouldn’t get anywhere, the hospitable person may tell people that they have to get whatever they want by themselves all the time and an intercessor wouldn’t really be one because serving comes with it all. Now serving is a gift in itself and encompasses all the ways one person can serve another.

In this world, though, we get caught up in thinking that everyone should be doing more of what our own gifting is. Not to pick on them at all but the evangelists say we need to evangelize more, the hospitality people say we need to open our houses more, and the intercessors say we need to intercede more for others. Going back to Romans 12:4-6, it says “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one in the body of Christ, and individually members of one another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise, according to the proportion of his faith;”. If we all did the same thing, the kingdom of God would get nowhere and everything would be in total disarray. Martha got caught up thinking that her sister needed to serve more. She was distracted that morning, maybe because she hadn’t had her quiet time that morning or hadn’t sat in Jesus’ presence for a while. If we don’t do that, we become like Martha-distracted and unable to function in our gifts to the best of our ability. We start thinking the way the world does and complaining that no one is helping us whether verbally or internally.

Now here’s the big question- if Jesus was telling Martha to stop serving, did she? Let’s look in John 12:1-3 “Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there and MARTHA WAS SERVING; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of perfume”. Again we see Martha in the kitchen and Mary at Jesus’ feet. It must have been important to state that Martha was serving otherwise it would not be in the Bible. This time she does not become upset that her sister is not helping though. Perhaps she has learned and had her time to sit with Jesus before. Martha should not have the bad reputation that she does, because we are more like her than we realize; not all the time, but definitely sometimes. I am Martha; a servant who has off days every now and then.


Heather said...

Emily-I LOVE this!!! never thought about it in that way!! wow, thank you for sharing!!! <3 =]

Above all else: Love said...

knew you could do it. =)