Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Saint Martha

Today is the memorial for Saint Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus. Whenever we hear of Mary and Martha, most of us automatically think of Martha's conversation with Jesus. She was perturbed that Mary was not helping her prepare a meal for her guests (Jesus and His disciples). Mary was, instead, sitting at Jesus' feet--listening to Him teach. Jesus' response to Martha is well known: " 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.' " (Luke 10:38-42)

The picture here is how most of us picture Martha. Pestering Jesus, and busy about her meal preparations.

That is how I often picture myself. Busy, busy, busy. And frustrated with anyone who isn't as busy as I am! I long to be as Mary...sitting quietly at the feet of my Lord. Learning from Him.
Who wants to be like Martha, who received a scolding from Jesus?

And yet...

If we read another passage, in John, we get a completely different picture of Martha. Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus had just died. Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Bethany to comfort the sisters. Martha meets Jesus on the road (always a woman of action!) and says, "If You had been here, my brother would not have died. However, I know even now that whatever You ask of God, He will do." Jesus promises Martha: "Your brother will rise." Martha, still not quite understanding, replies, "I know he will be resurrected on the last day." Jesus makes it plain to her: "I am the resurrection and the life! Anyone who believes in Me will have life!" Martha's response is so incredible. A true proclamation of faith: "Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world." Wow. She made an amazing announcement to any who was nearby!

It seems obvious that some heart changes had taken place in Martha since the earlier encounter at her home. She had learned a great deal from her times spent with Jesus.

This is the Martha I desire to imitate. The one who knows who Jesus truly is, and trusts Him implicitly. Not too busy any longer to wait to see what Jesus will do for her. Not "anxious and worried" about many things, but willing to simply trust Jesus. And willing to proclaim to all that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God!
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