Posts Tagged ‘Martha’

Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”—Luke 10:41-42

You have to love Martha, don’t you? She was much like us—distracted by many things!

Martha had many mouths to feed, and she wanted to be the best possible host to her guests. No wonder she was “dragged all around.” That’s what the word for “distracted” literally means. Because of her insistence that everything needed to be just right, she was pulled in every direction till she was nearly coming apart at the seams! Finally, in desperation, she asked Jesus to tell Mary to pitch in: “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

What made Martha so driven? Did she somehow need to feel important? Was she driven by a desire to live up to the expectations of others? Or was she simply unwilling to come to terms with her own limitations?

In Jesus’ response we hear his tenderness and care for her: “Martha, Martha … you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” Yet we also hear a gentle rebuke. Martha had chosen what was second best. Mary, on the other hand, had chosen well. She had put Jesus in first place, and as a result, she was able to set aside busyness for a while to soak up the joy of being with her Lord.


Lord Jesus, there is so much to do! We find it hard to simply “stop” to listen and learn from you. Teach us how to gather at your feet, ready to honor you and take your words into our hearts. Amen.

“Whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”—John 11:26

We value time! We say things like “Time is money” and “The early bird catches the worm.” We believe everything is urgent.

In our verses for today, Jesus visits Martha and Mary, whose brother Lazarus has died. They had sent word when Lazarus was sick, but Jesus didn’t come right away (John 11:1-7). Didn’t he care that his friend was dying? Yes, but he also knew God had other plans for Lazarus (see John 11:11-15, 38-44).

Still, we can sympathize with Martha. She had placed her full trust in Jesus to cure her brother. How many times had she looked out and stared down the road for a glimpse of him? When Jesus finally did arrive, she met him with tears and perhaps a bit of scolding: “If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” But then she said, “I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

We have all felt frustrated when Jesus shows up later than we have wanted. Our dreams are dashed, and our confidence in him withers. But Jesus knows how we feel—and he often uses time differently than we do. Though we may not understand, he also knows what’s most important. Maybe he held Martha by the shoulders and looked her in the eyes as he said, “Whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Jesus came to infuse our faltering faith with amazement and wonder. Do you believe this?