Martha’s story can be read in Luke 10:38-42 and John 11:1-38. Most times, Martha’s name conveys an image of the micromanager. Naturally a study on Martha and Mary shine a light on Mary and criticism of Martha, because their memorable story is found in Luke’s account. Now as they went on their way, he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving; and she came up to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister did leave me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. John 10:38-42.
Martha offers more than a woman who is preoccupied with the busyness of managing a household.
Martha, like her sister Mary, shows an exemplary faith in the Lord. Jesus found favor with this family of three siblings, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. He visited with them on numerous occasions and grieved with them in their mourning. While he may have corrected Martha’s attitude toward Mary’s lack of working in Luke’s gospel, we know from the gospel of John that Jesus cared deeply for all three of them. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” John 11:5
Martha’s faith was apparent when her brother, Lazarus had fallen sick. She and Mary sent for Jesus to come because they both knew that Jesus could heal Lazarus. But it was Martha who immediately went to Jesus upon his arrival.“Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary still sat in the house. Martha therefore said unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. And even now I know that, whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even he that cometh into the world.” John 11: 20-27
While Martha reprimanded Jesus for not coming sooner, she also confessed her belief in Jesus as the Son of God. Her declaration of faith unquestionably shows she deserves her place as a woman of faith.
Martha portrayed an excellent example of faith. She used her talents to help Jesus in His ministry. She provided a place for Jesus and his disciples to come together and eat. When Lazarus was ill, she and Mary proclaimed the power of Jesus when they sent for Him. For many, the role that Martha and her sister had in spreading the gospel may seem small and insignificant, but to those who were recipients of their hospitality, I am sure saw the importance in it.
I think that the story of Martha and Mary has multiple lessons, but an often overlooked one is the importance of using our talents. The talent Martha had to serve others was noticeably one of importance for it to be mentioned in the gospel of John. Jesus therefore six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus raised from the dead. So they made him a supper there: and Martha served; but Lazarus was one of them that sat at meat with him. John 12: 1-2. We need to learn from Martha’s example to not get consumed with the stress and worry of the job, but instead to remember to choose the good part.
Until next time