Summary: What had Martha done wrong? Wasn't she being a servant? Wasn't she serving Jesus and his men? Was Jesus telling her she shouldn't have been preparing the meal? Or was there something else wrong here?
OPEN: A mother and her young daughter had been driving on the highway for a couple of hours and traffic had been difficult… in fact, some of the other drivers had been downright frustrating. They wouldn’t use their turn signals, she’d been cut off, tail gated, and then there had been the cars in front of her who insisted on moving way below the speed limit.
Have you ever had that happen to you? Yeah, me too.
And as the day wore on, her patience ran out and she began to begin to speak her frustrations out loud. She began to talk about the level of intelligence of the other drivers. They were ignorant, jerks, stupid.
Have you ever done that? Yeah, I’ve done it too.
Well, after a while, she tamed down and got control of herself. And in the quietness that followed, her young daughter looked up innocently at her and asked:
“Mother, have you ever been stupid?”
Have you ever been behind the wheel of your car… and been… stupid?
Yeah, me too! In fact I did that just last week.
ILLUS: I had been on the road for a few hours and I was running low on gas, so I pulled into a gas station through the back way. I wanted to get gas quickly and get back on the road and I could tell there were about 4 gas pumps that were open, but I couldn’t get to them. There was this white truck parked across my path… and he was just sitting there. He wouldn’t MOVE and I couldn’t get to the pumps. He just SAT there. It was so FRUSTRATING.
What would you have done in that situation? (Honk horn).
Yes sir. That’s what I did. I honked to let him know how upset I was.
But then – no sooner than I honked my horn – I see this other vehicle backing out of a parking spot in front of the gas station. And I suddenly realized… that white truck had just been being courteous to car. He had been waiting patiently, giving that other vehicle room to back up.
He had been patient. I hadn’t.
I had acted like a jerk…. I had been STUPID!
APPLY: Now, in our text this morning we read the story of a woman who acted… stupidly.
Her name was “Martha”.
Now in fairness and full disclosure I have to tell you that Martha was my mother’s name… so I’m kind of partial to her.
Just like me at the gas station, Martha did something foolish.
Now, she hadn’t started out to be foolish. She’d actually been trying to be a very gracious hostess to Jesus and His disciples. They had been traveling across the countryside as Jesus taught the crowds, and they’d stopped by Martha’s village. She had invited them into her home to rest. And she began to prepare a meal for them.
Now, this was quite a task. She hadn’t expected them and nothing was prepared for such a large group. And it wasn’t like she could go down to the corner grocery and buy food that had been precooked. Everything she set before them had to be made from scratch. But she did this gladly, because Jesus and His men were honored guests.
And while she prepared the meal… Jesus sat down in the next room and began to teach.
Now, (Martha’s sister) Mary is there.
And she’s excited.
She loves Jesus. She idolizes Him. He’s her hero.
John 12:3 Tells of another time that Jesus came to their house and it says “Mary (took) a pound of very costly ointment… and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair...”
Jesus is Mary’s hero.
She literally worships the ground He walks on.
And NOW… here He is… in her house… and He’s teaching.
This is GREAT!
Mary doesn’t get much of a chance to listen to Jesus.
But now here He is and she’s so excited she just sits right down at Jesus’ feet and listens to Him.
And she forgets ALL about Martha
And the meal
And setting the table.
Now Martha doesn’t share Mary’s enthusiasm.
It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy listening to Jesus
(Everybody loves listening to Jesus)
But there’s work to be done… and Mary ain’t doing it.
And I can see this in my mind’s eye as it all plays out.
Little by little… MARTHA… GETS … UPSET.
She starts by making little noises in the kitchen to express her displeasure.
She sets a pot down on the table… really hard.
She bangs a few of the utensils into the wash bucket.
And you can see a small frown begins to play at the edge of her lips.
As she putsying around the kitchen she glances into the other room. And she’s always looking at Mary – just SITTING there – doing nothing. And the looks she gives her sister are not pleasant looks. They’re dark and ugly.