Summary: Duty and devotion are both necessary but there must be a balance. A balance where neither one would hinder us from exhibiting the other.
Last time we were together we looked at the famous story of Mary and Martha.
We concluded that the Lord wants us to be like Mary in our worship, and like Martha in our work.
Duty and devotion are both necessary but there must be a balance.
A balance where neither one would hinder us from exhibiting the other.
Everything we do and every relationship we have demands focus.
When we focus properly, we succeed.
When we lose our focus, we begin to fail,
and the longer we go without focus,
the worse our circumstances get.
This morning, I want us to take a look at another encounter Jesus had with Martha
1 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
7 Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. 10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.”
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
I can imagine Martha.
Where is he?
Where is he?
How many times had she asked that question over the past four days.
Her only brother had come down with some mysterious virus and nobody could do anything for him.
Well nobody except for their friend Jesus.
How many times had he reached out his hand and the blind had seen, or the lame had walked.
If there was any hope for Lazarus it would only be through Jesus.
Granted she hadn’t actually asked Jesus to come, she had only sent word that His friend was deathly ill.
If Jesus was the friend that he professed to be wouldn’t he have come.
But she had waited and Lazarus got worse,
and she waited
and Lazarus died,
and she waited
and Lazarus had been buried.
Jesus had healed the paralytic and he didn’t even know him,
he healed the blind man who was just a face in the crowd,
surely he would come for his friend.
And still the thought tormented her,
where was he,
surely she couldn’t have misjudged Jesus so badly.
He had eaten at their table and slept under their
roof surely that had meant something to him,
or maybe not.
And then a murmur began to weave it’s way through the crowd that had gathered to mourn with the two sisters, the master is here,
Jesus has arrived.
And Martha couldn’t help herself, she was on her feet rushing to meet her friend.
The thought that had burned in her heart was already on her lips, John 11:21-22 (NIV)
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.
I don’t think it was said with a mean or vindictive spirit,
but I don’t think it was simply a statement of fact either.
I think she was disappointed in Jesus and felt betrayed and I’m sure the question even though unasked could be read in her eyes,
“When you heard he was sick, why didn’t you come then?”
Max Lucado says that “The grave unearths our view of God”
And he’s right
how often have we heard
“If God existed such and such would not have happened”
How often are we guilty of dealing with God in that very same way, of demanding to know why he doesn’t do it the way we want it done, when we want it done.