Summary: A study of three characters from the Gospels—Martha the whining worker, Mary the willing worshiper and Lazarus the walking witness.
Whining Worker, Willing Worshiper, Walking Witness
TEXT: Please note with me three texts:
Luke 10:38-42 – “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
John 12:1-9 – “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. 3 Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. 4 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. 8 For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always. 9 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.”
Mark 14:3-9 – “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
I love the various characters in the Gospels, and in all of the Bible. In the texts we just read, we meet three people whose lives I want to draw some lessons from this morning. I read all the texts at one time because these three Bible characters and these stories bleed over into one another.
Since we had such long texts, let’s skip the normal long intro and go straight to our study. The title of my message today is “Worker, Worshiper, Walking Witness.” Let’s look at three Bible characters and see what we can learn from their lives:
I. FIRST, NOTE WITH ME MARTHA THE WHINING WORKER.
In Luke 10, what we see is that Martha worked because out of sense of DUTY. She was working to prepare a meal for Jesus while Mary was at the feet of Jesus in worship and fellowship. After a while, Martha complained to Jesus and asked Him to tell Mary to help her.
Why was Martha complaining?—Because she was more concerned about her WORK FOR the Lord than she was about FELLOWSHIP WITH the Lord. Really, the two should go hand in hand. But she focused on just work FOR Jesus to the exclusion of fellowship WITH Jesus. She was serving out of a sense of duty rather than gratefulness—so she complained. But notice that she was ONLY COOKING FOR THREE!
What was Jesus’ response to her? – Luke 10:41-42 – “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”