Well, the school is still three weeks away, but my students are already teaching me. This morning I received an email from one of them reminding me of Mary and Martha. I am sure it is one that you have all heard before and you, like me, have probably looked at Martha and seen yourself. This morning it wasn’t that I was necessarily looking at Martha working too hard, but the reason behind Christ’s words to her, and also her response.
Christ tells Martha that Mary chose the better option (Luke 10:39-42):
She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what he was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.”
The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”
“There’s only one thing you need…” We need Christ. Christ is the best option. We need to constantly return to the source of living water. Christ is the only option if we want the living water.
We know that God places a call on our life and sets us tasks to do. Right from Genesis when He created man and gave Him stewardship over the animals we have had responsibilities and work to be done. But we need the strength of Christ to renew us for these tasks. We cannot move from one activity to the next without taking time to refuel. It may seem illogical that taking rest will enable you to accomplish more, but it is nevertheless true. Especially when that rest comes from the Spirit who gives life.
What I love and admire about Martha is that she sought Christ. Yes, she wanted Him to tell her sister to get back to work, but at least she went to Him. When we go to Him we can be corrected. When we go to Him, He can show us our true need, rather than our perceived needs. When we go to Him, He can reassure us that our ministry, home, or work won’t fall apart if we take an hour to sit with Him. When we go to Him, we are renewed as we talk with Him, listen to Him, or cry with Him.
We see that it is a lesson that Martha learnt. She ran to Him at the most sorrowful time of her life. It was also her, and not Mary, that Scripture recalls making the pronouncement of Christ’s true identity (John 11:20-27):
As soon as Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha told Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, he will give it to you.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha told him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The person who believes in me, even though he dies, will live. Indeed, everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that?”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world.”
Do you know the Source of Living Water? Do you know who to turn to for renewal? Do you run to Him when life gets hard, or disappoints you? Do you seek answers from Him? And do you take the time to sit with Him in the midst of life’s busyness?