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Mary & Martha

Luke 10:38-42
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“While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. [39] She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. [40] But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, ‘Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.’ [41] The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, [42] but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.’” (HCSB)

I checked my records this past week to see how often I’ve preached on this text and could only find a couple of occasions—which really surprised me because it is such a familiar text.  While I haven’t preached on it often, I do remember a reaction I received after referring to this text during a revival meeting in Bakersfield, California.  The lady let me have it with both barrels because she felt I was overly critical of Martha and heaped too high a praise on Mary.  My memory isn’t good enough to know if she was right or not, all I remember was that I was embarrassed by the public confrontation and that I wished she would just go away and leave me alone.  I bring this up just today, because it reminds me that this passage of scripture carries with it some emotional baggage for some of us, because people who are “worker bees” who find themselves constantly busy doing something for others are surprised and even a bit offended by Jesus’ reaction to Martha.

 The scripture says, Martha was busying herself with "preparations."  I’m not sure exactly what she was doing, but I’m sure there was plenty that needed to be done.  Perhaps she was tidying up, or making final preparations for a meal.  We really don’t know what she was doing, but we do know that Martha was upset because Mary wasn’t helping her do it.  Think about what would have happened if Mary would have helped Martha, yes the work would be done faster, but Jesus would have been sitting all alone.

 Think about this from Martha’s point of view.  I’m sure she was honored to have Jesus in her home and wanted everything to be just right for Him.  In those days, I don’t think Dominoes delivered in 30 minutes or less or that she could buy the fried chicken deal at Albertsons.  She was on her own to prepare a meal and I’m sure she felt overwhelmed by the daunting task of wanting everything to be just right for Jesus.  She needed help.  And she was angry that her sister wasn’t pulling her weight.  Apparently, Mary hadn’t responded to her pleas for help, or maybe Martha was expecting Mary to read her mind, but Martha was fed up with the situation and marched into Jesus presence to order Him to tell Mary to come help her.  Think about the nerve she had—she walked into the presence of God and had the audacity to start ordering Him around.  She didn’t pause to worship, enjoy Him or learn from Him; instead she decided to

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