Summary: Martha and Mary
WHAT’S THE RUSH? (LUKE 10:38-42)
Hong Kong is an extremely busy city. After a year in Hong Kong, I have done my best to keep up. Every working day in Hong Kong, I rush for the 7:24 am Ma Wan ferry, arriving around 16 minutes (7:40 a.m) later at Tsuen Wan West, where I have two minutes to get to the nearby rail station for the 7:42 a.m. ride to Yuen Long, where I have another two minutes to get to the bus station to catch the next bus to work. I miss my train at least once a month. By this time, I have learned the ropes, which is to find a seat by the door of the coach that stops nearest to the escalator. When the door opens, I am among the first to trot down the escalator.
Within my first year in Hong Kong, I took a trip to Singapore and a few months later to Beijing, and the contrast couldn’t be any more amusing. In Singapore and Beijing, people are stationary while riding the escalators. In Hong Kong, people stand to the right on an escalator, so that busy passersby can pass them. In Beijing and Singapore, not only do people not stand to the right, two people would stand side by side, sharing the same step and allowing passersby no room to pass them. In Hong Kong, you know who the locals are by where they stand on the escalator.
Martha is the Bible’s busy bee and one of the most interesting and beloved characters in the Bible. Most people can identify with her because they consider themselves a Martha instead of a Mary. In her busyness, however, Martha forgot why she invited Jesus into her home in the first place. Martha was so busy that what began as a sweet gesture turned into a sour attitude.
What is keeping us busy? Why are we busy? How do we cope with the busyness of life?
Serve with Hearts That Rejoice in Him
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. Luke 10:38
It’s been said, "No guest is so welcome in a friend’s house that he will not become a nuisance after three days."
What makes a person a good or perfect host? Here are some Internet tips:
"The perfect host is the one who says, as each guest arrives, "I’m so glad you are finally here!" And when each leaves, "Must you go so soon?" (Ben Patterson)
"The perfect host is the man who does everything he possibly can to make his guests feel at home..... even when he wishes they were (at home)." (W.Bro. Powell, P.M.)
"To be the perfect host is to offer hospitality unconditionally, unreservedly, unendingly."
Another perspective: "A perfect host is the one who draws out his guests and allows them to monopolize the conversation. When these guests go home they have had the time of their lives."
"The most important aspect of being a good host is being a good listener." (Jay Leno)
"The whole point is that while being a good host is important, the food isn’t the draw here, so don’t let it stress you out." (David Tutera)
"The perfect host is truly open to guests and honestly delighted with their presence."
In Hong Kong nobody hosts friends at home. They take guests out for dinner but never home to visit. We did our North American best accommodating a family of four over four days in our tiny 488 sq. ft., 2-bedroom apartment in our first year in Hong Kong.
Martha has been unfairly cast in a wholly negative light. Most readers forget she had all the qualities, requirements and potential to be a host par excellence, a host of highest distinction and without peer. She did something precious for Jesus few can boast of in the Bible, which is to "receive" (v 38 "opened her home" in NIV) Him into her house. The verb "receive" or "receive under" (hupodechomai) occurs the first of merely four times in the Bible - elsewhere translated twice as "welcomed" and once as "gave lodging" (v 38, Luke 19:6, Acts 17:7, James 2:25) in NIV. Unlike the normal "receive" that occurs 56 times in the Bible, this minority "receive" word is used sparingly and specifically for Zacchaeus who "welcomed" Jesus gladly (Luke 19:6), Jason who "welcomed" Paul and Silas (Acts 17:7) and Rahab, who gave lodging to the spies (James 2:25).
There was nothing more joyous and precious to Martha than receiving and welcoming Jesus into her home, to have Him to be the houseguest, to grace and bless the home. Jesus journeyed to many "villages" (v 38) in the book of Luke but this is the first instance He was "received" into a family. Martha had the great fortune of being one of only two people in the Bible to "welcome" Jesus into her home. The other is Zacchaeus (Luke 19:6). Zacchaeus, too, gladly "welcomed" Him, but with a difference -- but only when he was asked. Martha welcomed Jesus into her home without a hint and Zacchaeus welcomed Jesus into his home upon Jesus’ request.