Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed Him and made Him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she (Martha) stepped in, interrupting them; ‘Master, don’t You care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.’ The Master said, ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.’”
Luke 10: 38-42
The Message Bible
“Believer! Rejoice that your path is marked out for you. Your lot in life, with all its ‘accidents’ is your Lord’s appointing. Dream not, in your own short-sighted wisdom, that, had you occupied some other or more prominent position – had your talents been greater, or your worldly influence more extensive – you might have glorified your God in a way which is at present denied to you. (Christ) can be served in the lowliest as well as in the most exalted stations. As the tiniest leaf or smallest star in the world of nature reflects His glory as well as the giant mountain or blazing sun, so does He graciously own and recognize the humblest effort of lowly love no less than the most lavish gifts which splendid magnificence and costly devotion can cast into His treasury. Let it be your great aim and ambition to honor Him just in the position He has seen meet to assign you. ‘Let every person wherein you are called, therein abide with God.’”
Thoughts for Consideration:
How would I define myself? Am I a Mary or a Martha? Am I a John the Baptist or an Apostle Paul?
In what specific ways has God called me to serve Him?
“We may think God wants actions of a certain kind, but God wants people of a certain kind.”
C. S. Lewis
“One thing, and only one, in this world has eternity stamped upon it. Feelings pass; resolves and thoughts pass; opinions change. What you have done lasts – lasts in you. Through ages, through eternity, what you have done for Christ, that, and only that, you are.”
F. W. Robertson
I am certain all of us can think about friends we have who are “the best” to be around. Jim and I have, throughout our lives, had dear ones who, when we get together, we don’t have to worry about a thing for these trusted friends have the unique ability to make you feel welcome – anytime you are at home! (Hi Cliff and Freddie!)
This is the relationship I believe Jesus had with the family in Bethany – Mary, Martha and Lazarus. With so many traps set for Jesus by the Pharisees, trying to catch Him in some behavior where they could accuse Him of blasphemy, it must have been like a fresh breeze to enter this home in Bethany – filled with thoughtful conversation as the delicious aroma from Martha’s kitchen filled the air. As Matthew Henry points out, “Though there were many that rejected Jesus, and would not entertain Him, yet there was one home where He was bid welcome. Though Christ was spoken against (by the Pharisees), there was a remnant to whom He was dear, and they were dear to Him.”
This is why I believe the gospel writer took time to reveal the affection shown by the family in Bethany. What I find so fascinating about the occupants of this home is that they all chose to serve Jesus in very individual ways. While some authors and Bible scholars may choose to dwell on the words of Jesus toward Martha’s over-activity, I’d like to focus our thoughts on the interaction which took place in this particular story among three people: Mary, Martha and Jesus. In her book, Jesus According to a Woman, Rachel Wahlberg offers what I believe to be keen insight. Rather than tagging each individual with a specific label, she chooses to open our eyes to the possibility of discarding some of our stereotypes. Wahlberg makes this statement when discussing the “limited function” we too frequently place on those around us: “Both sexes were honest and caring. Jesus was frank with both sisters, and they in turn treated Him with openness. He plainly discussed His teachings and thinking with both Mary and Martha. They in turn show evidence of their understanding. To demonstrate wholeness, Martha and Mary should not represent either-or-possibilities, but a variety…in relation to Jesus. Each person, rather than limited to one function, can be not only a serving person, but one who shares the ‘better part’ with Jesus.”
I really appreciate this thought so carefully expressed by Rachel Walberg because for much of my life, I ran the activities of my day just like Martha – busy, busy, busy. And to be quite frank with you, the world would fall apart without hard-working Marthas. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that without the capable hands of Marthas, most church programs would fall flat. Just think for a moment of all the women who have had a hand in helping you in your walk with Jesus. But after feeling like one of those hamsters on a wheel spinning faster and faster, I began to think about Mary’s choice to add quiet time to her day. If Jesus was the main course, then maybe Martha could have limited her meal planning to simple appetizers and a big salad with bread. Do you get my drift? This portrayal helps us understand that Jesus cared for both Mary and Martha and Lazarus as well. He appreciated all they did for Him. Their kindness touched His heart. Their service was a blessing to His ministry. His call to them was one of recognizing the sphere He had called them to work in. He needed all of them.
This special call to serve Jesus applies to you and me today as well. For as J. R. Macduff underscores in his comments on the passage penned by Dr. Luke, “You may become a center of influence to the world around you. Your heart may be an incense-altar of love and affection, kindness and gentleness – your life a perpetual hymn of praise to your Father in heaven; glorifying Him, like Martha, by active service; like Mary, by sitting at His feet; or, like Lazarus, by holy living and dying.” Indeed, Jesus needs all our talents and abilities in His service!
“O Lord, we most humbly beseech Thee to give us grace
not only to be hearers of the Word,
but also doers of the same;
not only to love
but also to live Thy Gospel;
not only to profess,
but also to practice,
unto the honor of Your holy name.”
“I Am Martha, I Am Mary, I Am Jesus”
“I am Martha
preparing the house
setting all in order.
I am Mary
preparing my heart
watching at the door
listening for footsteps
setting all aside.
welcomes with a smile
‘make yourself comfortable
shed your shoes
relax into the cushions
of the couch.’
welcomes with anticipation
‘make yourself available
shed your burdens
relax into the presence
of the Spirit.’
Together we embrace
the Spirit’s presence
a trinity of seekers
beneath a cross of sycamore wood
before a candle flame.
to start the conversation
at Jesus’ feet
to draw the focus to Him
Our guest begins
her eyes on me, her heart of God
as Martha slips silently
from the room.
After our guest’s departure
Martha returns to plump the cushions
as Mary douses candle flame
No need for words
beneath the cross
in hallowed space
we count blessings together
instead of teacups
from the crumbs of conversation
for the gift of hospitality.
A trinity remains.”
Ms. Shirin McArthur
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P. S. Thank you so much for the gifts you send to Transformation Garden which continue to assist our ministry here in the United States and in 192 countries around the world. 100% of your donation goes directly to providing for our daily devotionals and gift bookmarks. Transformation Garden is a non-profit organization so your gift is tax-deductible and you will receive a receipt for any gift you send.sefsef
Many of you have asked how to send a gift to Transformation Garden. You can help support our work by giving a gift through Paypal or you can send your gift to: Transformation Garden, 2675 West SR89A, PMB 1121, Sedona, Arizona 86336. Thank you so much.
Also, if you should happen to miss a devotional for some reason, you can go to www.transformationgarden.com and you will find archived devotionals. We also place the daily devotionals on Facebook so you can find them on that site also.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com and www.Christianbook.com or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. Thank you so much for your support of Transformation Garden.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.