Martha vs. Martha

Yesterday’s sermon highlighted a contrast I’ve seldom thought about: this is the same Mary & Martha as in the story in Luke 10:38-42. You know, the one where Martha is busy serving and Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. Jesus has to give Martha a verbal shake because as she serves, she is forgetting the reason for her service–Him! Jesus. The man sitting in the middle of her living room. Not only that, but Martha attempts to interrupt Mary in her teaching posture and move her away from Jesus. She’s judging Mary in her worship and staying out of worship herself.

Contrast this with Martha in John 12. All that is said of her is “she served.” This statement rings with beauty and simplicity. Martha is doing exactly the same thing she was doing in the first story, but in this instance she is serving without distraction; she is serving in a way that recognizes the reason for the service, namely Jesus.

This is a well-timed reminder as we move towards Holy Week. I don’t consider “service” one of my spiritual gifts, but I do a lot of it at this time of year. There are two ways I can do it: I can serve quietly and attempt to remember the reason for the service. Or I can get stressed with all the things that need doing and very quickly forget the reason that I serve.

Do you think it matters? Often, I convince myself it doesn’t. Things need to get done in order for other things to get done, right? But there are apparently two people to whom it mattered how Martha served. Herself and Jesus.

My prayer right now is that I worship in the Lord in the beauty of holiness, which can only come from right worship. Jesus, be the center and let my gaze be ever on you. Amen.


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