Summary: Looks at Martha’s response to Mary
She was a little steamed, actually she was a lot ticked and who could blame here. Sure she had been the one who had invited the company over, but it wasn’t just her home, I mean her sister could do a little bit to help out. Instead she just sat there staring up at their guest as if it was the first time she’d ever seen the man, when the truth was they had practically grown up together. And so she walked a little louder, actually it was pretty close to stomping, and banged the pots a little more then necessary, actually a lot more then necessary and she sighed a lot and not little sighs either, these we full blown asthmatic sighs that were not to be missed. And yet they were missed, their guest continued to teach and her sister sat mesmerized, hanging on every word that he said. And Martha was a little steamed, actually she was a lot ticked and who could blame her.
Karen read the story earlier in the service. Mary and Martha were the sisters of Jesus good friend Lazarus and it would appear from different gospel accounts that Jesus spent a fair amount of time at their home. On this specific occasion Jesus was travelling past on one of his journeys and Martha invited him to come and stay with her family. When Jesus arrived he sat down and began to speak, we don’t know if he was teaching, or if he was telling them of his journey or just shooting the breeze. Whatever it was Mary was soon entranced with his words and sat at his feet hanging on to every word. If you saw the mini series Jesus back in the spring they actually portrayed Mary as having a crush on Jesus, and it could have happened. He was a likeable type of guy who obviously was well respected, had a trade and came from a good family. A girl could do worse then Jesus.
But the story really isn’t about Mary at all, it’s about her sister, Martha. It had been Martha who had invited Jesus into her home and she was bound and determined that everything would be perfect for Jesus. And so she began to fuss around, cleaning up and getting supper ready. At first it wasn’t bad but the longer she worked the more she began to resent the fact that her sister was just sitting there, doing nothing. And finally she couldn’t stand it any longer, in Australia they would say that she spit the dummy, and she blurted out, “excuse me, doesn’t anybody think this might be more then a little unfair, me playing Cinderella, while her highness sits on her duff and does nothing.” Or something to that effect.
And Jesus responded by saying “Martha, don’t sweat the little stuff, and it’s all little stuff. Right now Mary has discovered what is really important, and I’m not going to put a damper on that.”
I wonder what Martha’s response was? It’s not recorded but somehow I don’t think she said “Oh I’m sorry Lord, I didn’t realize.” What can we learn from this? As I got into my message I realized that there could only be one title and it is “Martha, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”
The Good. Luke 10:38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. The good is what made Martha, Martha. We have talked in the past about spiritual gifts, that is to say the gifts that are given to each believer for the building up of the Kingdom. Depending on who you talk to the list include things like, prophecy, speaking in unknown languages, healing, teaching, leadership. And right in the middle of all of that is the gift of hospitality, or entertaining. A very valid gift, and a very important gift. It is referred to in scriptures like 1 Peter 4:9-10 Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God’s generosity can flow through you. As well as Romans 12:13 When God’s children are in need, be the one to help them out. And get into the habit of inviting guests home for dinner or, if they need lodging, for the night. And Hebrews 13:2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Martha knew where her giftedness was, and she was willing to put it to use. She was one of those people whose home was always open. As believers one of the most frustrating things in life can be trying to do things that we not gifted for, it goes back to the trying to put square pegs in round holes. Now sometimes we can fill a temporary need, and that’s valid. But for the most part our place of service ought to be where we are spiritually gifted. When we find where that is, and then we exercise that gift we not only feel fulfilled we are fulfilled.