“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. . . . Martha was distracted with much serving.”
I wonder if Martha wanted to be in the kitchen that day, at that time. Did she wish to be sitting at Jesus’ feet like her sister Mary? It seems to me that Martha had a servant’s heart. After all, she welcomed him into her house. Maybe she had a knack for cooking. What can we really know about Martha?
Imagine with me for a moment . . .
The Messiah was coming to her home. She always loved when He visited. He felt like family. Everything had to be just right for Him! She couldn’t wait for Him to arrive!
As the afternoon approached, something changed. She was still eager to see Jesus, but she had grown weary with the preparations. He always brought His twelve followers with Him, and then there was the crowd that followed everywhere He went. She must make sure there is enough food and seating for everyone. Does the house look presentable? Do we have enough water? What other needs should she anticipate? Oh, why was she doing this again?
She was elated to see Him come through the doorway. She raced to embrace Him, but there was a long line waiting for His attention. She would satisfy herself with a smile and a wave and return to the kitchen.
As Jesus sat in their adequate living room, she could hear His strong, comforting voice wafting into the kitchen. She caught bits and pieces. He was reciting from the prophet Isaiah: “. . . to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit . . .”
Her heart was heavy. She needed to go to Him. She needed to weep at His feet, to surrender and be rescued. Martha put down the spoon and took off her apron. She began walking toward Jesus, but as she drew closer to the crowd around Him, she was stopped. She saw someone arriving out of the corner of her eye and welcomed them inside. A man was asking where he might find some water. A small child was fighting with his sibling. Her sister sat there soaking His every word in, but Martha would never make it . . . she was too distracted.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
I know Martha’s story well. While I certainly don’t believe I’m gifted in the kitchen, I definitely know what it feels like to be distracted. This morning was a beautiful day to have service at the park down the street from our local church. Everything seemed right. It was a blessing to see so many people and families sharing in worship together. My little ones climbed in and out of my lap. As the service neared the end, I felt the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart. I yearned to be alone with Jesus and sit at His feet—to soak in every word. That was about the time that my children became antsy and the baby began to fuss. Afraid of becoming a distraction for others, I stood and walked to the far back. And I felt terrible.
What joy, truly inexpressible joy, there is in serving the Lord! My family and my ministry are my passions in life. But today, oh today, I just wanted, no needed, a little bit more of Jesus. I became envious of others, free of the cumbersome weight of distractions, who were enjoying His company. (Martha and I share the same struggle with a bad attitude.) It was as though I was fighting through the crowd just to get to Him, but people, things, distractions kept getting in my way! I was reminded of the woman with the issue of blood and the paralytic who went to great lengths to get a small piece of Jesus and His healing touch. Yes, they fought, too.
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’”
In the quiet, I heard His Spirit whisper to my troubled soul, “Bring them with you.” Those people that seem to keep “getting in your way”—bring them to me. Don’t let your service push others toward me but keep you away. Let go of the weights and the needless distractions that are holding you back. Run the race I have set before you. Find joy and encouragement in those that run with you for a time. Make every effort to bring others with you.
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
I will keep searching . . . I will keep fighting . . . and I will keep dying . . . just to sit at the feet of Jesus . . . and to bring others with me.
“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD.”