Summary: “Don’t Get Hangry Like I Did. Keep Devouring the One Thing Needful!”
Every now and then a new word comes into the English language, which makes me wonder what took so long for it to be “invented.” Once such brilliant word is “hangry.” Do you know what it means to be “hangry”? It’s the anger you feel because you’re so hungry that you can’t think straight. Couples should never try to have an important discussion on an empty stomach. Nor should parents ever try to reason with their children when they’re hungry. Everyone is just going to end up “hangry” with each other.
Our sermon text today records an example of someone who was hangry—only her hanger (if that’s a word) didn’t stem from the lack of food. She was hangry because she was missing something even more important: God’s Word, which points us to the Bread of Life, Jesus. Who was this hangry person? It was Martha, a follower of Jesus who was just trying her best to be a good hostess. But this Martha was no Martha Stewart, polished and polite. While I was always feel strange assuming the role of a woman, allow me to deliver this sermon as a message from Martha, who says to you: “Don’t get hangry like I did. Keep devouring the one thing needful!”
As your pastor explained, I am Martha. I lived with my sister Mary and brother Lazarus in the little town of Bethany not too far away from Jerusalem. When I heard that Jesus was making his way to Jerusalem with his disciples, I invited him to stop in for a meal. By this time in his ministry Jesus was quite famous. Wherever he went, people flocked to hear Jesus speak and to have him heal their sick. It was an honor to have Jesus in my home so I wanted to go all out in my preparations for him.
I hope that’s the way you feel about Jesus—that he is deserving of your best. I mean he did so much for us! He opened the way to heaven by opening himself up to taunts and ridicule and finally to death because he took the blame for our sins. How can we ever treat him as if he’s a pet for whom our leftovers will do?
I’m sorry to get so worked up. In fact that was my problem on the day Jesus came to visit. I got so involved in my meal preparations for Jesus that I started to feel, what did your pastor call it, hangry! I was stressed and upset that my flat bread was getting singed, while my carefully prepared stew lacked its usual zing. And my dessert wasn’t even started. What I needed was a helper. Of course my sister Mary was in the house, but what was she doing? She was sitting at Jesus’ feet—just sitting there listening to Jesus as if she had nothing better do in the world.
And of course she had nothing better to do at that moment as there is nothing better to do in this world than listen to Jesus. I understand that now, but because I was hangry at the time I let my feelings be known. I said to Jesus, not my sister, but to Jesus: “Don’t you care that I’m running around getting everything ready for dinner and my sister Mary is doing nothing but sitting there? Tell her to help me!”
Ugh. It makes me embarrassed to have to repeat those words. But it’s important for you to understand what happens when you’re hangry: your relationship with others suffer. First of all I was angry and upset with Jesus and accused him of not caring about me. But the problem was all mine. Consider how Jesus had taken time out of his schedule to be with us. Of all the people he could have been spending that afternoon with, he chose to spend it with Mary and me. And what was I doing? I had locked myself in my kitchen thinking that it was more important to serve Jesus, than to be served by him. Jesus made that abundantly clear when he gently said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”
How could I have been so foolish to accuse Jesus of not caring about me? If I would have been sitting at his feet listening to him like Mary was, I would have been reminded of how much he cared for me. You see, Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. He was going to suffer and die there. We, his followers, needed to be prepared for that. We needed to be reminded that Jesus hadn’t come to drive out the Romans and to make our earthly lives easy. I was in danger of missing out on a valuable lesson Jesus would teach about that to get us ready.