Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Mary and Martha: Lessons for Your Busy Day

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I love to imagine myself as a modern day Mary, buzzing around a tidy kitchen with my sister getting ready for lunch with Jesus. I’d pull off my apron the moment I saw Him coming down the road. I would hang on every word He said as I hung His cloak and knelt to wash His feet. I’d become so engrossed in conversation with Him that when His feet were clean, I would just stay right there on the floor at His feet drinking in the wisdom of Deity.
I’m afraid, though, that in reality, I’m more like Martha. Sometimes I can get more “worked up” about the menu or the setting of the table for company than about the evangelistic discussion we are planning for after dinner. Sometimes I find myself thinking far too much about what I’m going to wear to a speaking engagement, when I really should be thinking about what I’m going to say. Sometimes it’s easy to get carried away with having a spotless house, while giving little consideration to the infinitely more regrettable stains of the souls within. There have been times, too, when I’ve wasted hours listening to some talk show host or reading modern psychobabble when I would have served my spirit far better by sitting at the feet of Jesus.
So when I need a reality check–a serious introspection and re-evaluation about what is real and important, the account of Mary and Martha is where I go. Several needed lessons leap from the pages of inspiration. Let’s take a few posts to take them to heart.
A Lesson about Promises 
To truly believe the promises of Almighty God is to help one’s self to an amazing and abundant potential to His glory.
Mary and Martha were promise believers. Living in an era of rampant disbelief in the divinity of Christ, a disbelief that would shortly nail Him to the cross, Mary and Martha repeatedly exhibited a vibrant faith. It was Martha who ran out to meet Jesus as He approached Bethany on the occasion of Lazarus’ death. On this day, it was almost as if she couldn’t wait for Christ to get into town to confess before Him:

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it 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 in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.            John 11:20-27 

Having thus spoken, Martha hurried back to tell Mary that Jesus was just outside of town.  Mary, hurrying to the spot where Christ was waiting, likewise confessed:  “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” (John 11:32). 
Two thousand years hence, it may seem a small thing for these sisters to have spoken with confidence their faith in this Messiah. (After all, we know about the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and the endurance of the Holy scriptures). But Mary and Martha were entertaining the most controversial Jewish figure of the day. Their very friendship with this divinity claimer was an incrimination in the eyes of Jewish rulers who were already beginning to seek the life of Christ.
So what motivated Mary’s and Martha’s kindness and hospitality (Luke 10:38-42), their confession amidst those who sought to kill Jesus (John11:21,32), and Mary’s sacrificial anointing (John 12:2-8)?  It’s the same motivation that makes my high school friend, Laura, stand alone in her biology class and make a powerful case for creation even as she is scorned by her teacher.  It’s the motivation that made my friend Pat forsake a successful career in the entertainment industry because that career called for moral compromise.  It’s the motivation that, in an earlier age of miracles, caused Sarah to conceive seed when she was post-menopausal (Hebrews 11:11)! It’s a motivation called faith and Hebrews 11:11 goes on to say that it’s judging Him faithful who has promised. God does amazing things when people judge Him faithful, grasp His promises and make decisions based on those eternal promises.  He reserves the same power that stopped the mouths of lions, and quenched the violence of fire (Hebrews 11:33,34), for a day when the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall arise (I Cor.15:52). When I believe that such unleashed power exists, I’m enabled. I have little trouble standing alone against a mighty modern current of relativism, immorality and indifference. I am motivated to make sacrifices now because I can already see the reward that awaits.  Just as Mary’s spikenard was a testimony that she believed Jesus would soon die and be buried just as he had promised (John 12:7), so I demonstrate faith when I live and give for His cause today.  Just as she was ridiculed for the excessive amount she gave on this occasion, so I will be ridiculed when I stake my life on the promises of the New Testament. But this is faith. It’s my piece of the power in the promises. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1).
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