Today in my bible reading I came to the story of Mary and Martha. This is one that seems to stump many people.
Luke 10: 38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."
We see Martha diligently serving; doesn’t the scripture teach us that, “the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is the servant of all” ( Matthew 9:35)? So what is going on in this story? I certainly can’t claim to solve all theological questions on this passage, but this is what the Spirit spoke to me on this subject.
Let’s start with one of my classic “health” metaphors.
At the gym I see all sorts of crazy exercise going on. I see women who are barley lifting more than a feather worth of weight (totally ineffective). I see men who are lifting so much that they are out of alignment and in serious danger of injury (such as a back injury or torn rotator cuff). I see people working muscle groups in random order without an ounce of method to the madness. These are all people who have great INTENTION but will get very little results and very likely do more harm than good. Why? They need to take the time to have someone instruct them! (Might I recommend a TRAINER!!!) Listening to and following the instructions of a good trainer will get the results you are after. How much weight can you handle? Are you set up in proper form to prevent injury? Have you arranged your workout in a way that it is effective?
Okay so let’s put that into our story of Mary and Martha. Martha is the person in the gym who is trying to do things on her own. Her motivation to “work-out”, AKA serve; is correct. BUT Martha has not taken the time to first listen to a good trainer (aka Rabbi, aka JESUS). Mary has remembered what comes first. Sitting at the feet of her Rabbi. He knows how much weight she can handle. Have you ever felt overwhelmed and bogged down? Perhaps you are carrying weight you were never intended lift on your own.
Matthew 11: 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
A trainer is there to give you a “spot” when the weight get’s too heavy. Isn’t that also what our Great Rabbi does for us? Perhaps your life is out of alignment. How will you get things back on track if you don’t first take the time to sit with your Rabbi and listen for His instructions.
Proverbs 3:6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
Perhaps if life feels out of order and chaotic then you need Him to bring order so that what you are doing is effective. When the earth was without form and void, the Spirit of God began to bring order to the chaos.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
The same way a trainer brings “order” to an ineffective workout, the Lord brings order to ineffective things in our life. If life feels too heavy, out of alignment or ineffective, learn to sit at the feet of your Rabbi. THEN you can serve and be effective in life.