My Name is Martha
Daily Reading: This morning, we’re reading Luke 10. Start there, then read this devotion that will tie in with what you’ve read.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'”
-Luke 10:38–42 ESV
Hi, my name is Martha. OK, my name isn’t Martha, but I am her. She is me. It’s not that I don’t want to spend time at Jesus’ feet, it’s just that someone has to prepare the meal, right? It’s not that I don’t love the concept of a Sabbath, it’s just that I don’t have time. It’s not that I don’t love my friends and family, it’s just that I get so wrapped up in the “doing” that I forget to see you sometimes. I’m sorry about that. In some ways, this is my gift. God gave me a drive and a passion to work hard. Yet at times, I get get so focused on the mission that I forget the stay in the Vine.
I can’t lie, when I read the story of Mary and Martha, I tend to side with Martha. There was work to be done, and she was doing it. That’s commendable! Yet, as JC Ryle said, “Her excessive zeal for temporal provisions, made her forget, for a time, the things of her soul.” My fellow Marthas, receive the loving rebuke of Jesus. Do not become so wrapped up in working for the Lord that you fail to enjoy his fellowship. Sitting next to your sister at Jesus’ feet is the good portion. Do you believe that? Time with Jesus cannot be taken away. All else can be and likely will be. Let Jesus words convict you and serve as a gracious ointment on your dried up soul. He offers you to cast your anxieties on him and simply sit at his feet. What an offer.
I’ll let JC Ryle close us out.
“The fault of Martha should be a perpetual warning to all Christians. If we desire to grow in grace, and to enjoy soul-prosperity, we must beware of the cares of this world. Except we watch and pray, they will insensibly eat up our spirituality, and bring leanness on our souls. It is not open sin, or flagrant breaches of God’s commandments alone, which lead men to eternal ruin. It is far more frequently an excessive attention to things in themselves lawful, and the being “cumbered about much serving.” It seems so right to provide for our own! It seems so proper to attend to the duties of our station! It is just here that our danger lies. Our families, our business, our daily callings, our household affairs, our intercourse with society, all, all may become snares to our hearts, and may draw us away from God. We may go down to the pit of hell from the very midst of lawful things.
Let us take heed to ourselves in this matter. Let us watch our habits of mind jealously, lest we fall into sin unawares. If we love life, we must hold the things of this world with a very loose hand, and beware of allowing anything to have the first place in our hearts, excepting God. Let us mentally write “poison” on all temporal good things. Used in moderation they are blessings, for which we ought to be thankful. Permitted to fill our minds, and trample upon holy things, they become a positive curse. Profits and pleasures are dearly purchased, if in order to obtain them we thrust aside eternity from our thoughts, abridge our Bible-reading, become careless hearers of the Gospel, and shorten our prayers. A little earth upon the fire within us will soon make that fire burn low.”
– JC Ryle