On Tuesday I wrote about Martha and how her busy got her into all kinds of trouble with Jesus. If you missed it you can click here to catch up. Today I am revisiting poor, misunderstood Martha because she’s gotten a pretty bad rap and I think she’s earned a little sister love.
Oh how I wish we could see the next scene in the story, don’t you? Did she stop right there and join her sister at the feet of Jesus? How humbling. Or, did she run off in tears back to the kitchen? I can relate to that too. I’m so rooting for her; I’m sure she made the right choice!
But, back to her defense… I don’t think for one second that she intentionally did the wrong thing. In fact, I am certain that she thought she was doing the right the thing. I would bet that she was nervous, yes, but also excited that “she” got to prepare dinner for Jesus! After all, and I speak from experience… a lot of thoughtful care and attention goes into crafting a meal for someone you love. I am sure she reveled at the idea of sitting around the table together breaking bread and conversing about all things biblical. This is when she would watch Him eat what she had lovingly made for Him and hang on His every word. And, after she clears the table, cleans the dishes and puts them away, then she’d get to sit at His feet. I think she must have had it all perfectly planned out in her head.
Let’s get honest, haven’t we all done that? Had the best made plans and yet they just didn’t play out quite as we had hoped? And, haven’t we all put God off, saying… “I just need to get this one thing done and then I’ll get to you.” But, then life took much longer; the job was bigger and more taxing than we had thought. People that were going help didn’t (i.e. Mary) and we just miss our chance. But, does that suggest that we don’t love Him? No… it doesn’t; it just shows that we need a little discipline because we still have a lot to learn. And, isn’t it great news that He’s not finished with us yet?
Now, I am not pointing the finger at Mary either, she absolutely did the right thing. I’m rather just extending a little grace to dear Martha, because just like us she made a mistake and just like us… she loved Him too.
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.
I scoot the ottoman out of parental sight and smack dab in front of the fireplace. I talk my baby brother into joining me in my quest to jump up on the ottoman and back down again. Up and down and over again until, “clunk and splat,” happens.
What went “clunk and splat?”
It was my brother’s six year old head banging the edge of the fireplace. A long drawn-out visit to the emergency room and several stitches later, my not so pleased momma sits us down. “I told y’all something bad would happen if you disobeyed me,” she explained.
Have you ever made a bad decision that hurt not only you but someone else?
The town-folk in Jericho were worshipping idols and following the pagan god, Baal for years. As God led the Israelites into the promise land, they were able to defeat the evil forces of Jericho along the way. God’s one instruction– when the walls come down in Jericho you must set apart all the gold, jewels and other fine things for the Lord (see Joshua 7:1).
Just like the children of Israel, my disobedience came at a heavy price. My elementary school brain processed only the fun and not the consequence. As a result, I got a swift kick in the pants while my brother sported a new red, crusty scab across his forehead. That day I, like the Israelites, received a lesson in disobedience 101.
When God calls us to do something, how we respond affects not only our lives but others too. If we don’t respond in immediate, uninhibited obedience, a life that should have been changed, wasn’t; a person in need of food, didn’t get fed; or a child in need of a family was left alone.
How will we respond today?
“Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning, either right or left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study the Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so that you will be sure to obey everything written in it,” (Joshua 1:7-9, NLT).
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to
She plays a small, busy role in a short, but hugely impacting scene. Aside from inviting Jesus and the disciples into her home she pretty much botches the whole evening. I can relate. I too am a Martha. And, if it had been me that day I likely would have worried about what to feed the Savior seated in my living room. And, I might have been both jealous and frustrated with my sister who was sitting casually at His feet while I did all the work. After all it’s not like she could order take out and it’s not like the bread would bake itself. But, we are talking about Jesus…. you know, the One who turned the water into wine, served the 5000 and healed the sick. Dinner should have been the least of Martha’s concerns; she had the once in a life time opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus and she blew it big time.
These 5 verses have each one of us girls asking the all important and slightly annoying question…
“Am I a Martha or a Mary?”
A quick examination of our lives reveals the truth. I confess, just like Martha I sometimes miss my opportunity to sit at His feet. I am tackling the urgent from sunrise to sunset. I’ve mastered the pray-as-you-go method and I often get my most intimate time with Him right here in front of the computer. I read online devotions and when I write I hear Him speaking directly into my heart. While this is all good and wonderful, I sense conviction because I know that I am squeezing Him in wherever I can instead of carving out daily time to just sit alone in His presence.
We Martha’s must be cautious. We have to be intentional. To Stop. To Seek Him in the quiet and on our knees. Or we’ll miss it. Miss what you ask?
Pure peace for our worldly journey.
Recognizing Him working in our lives.
Deeper insight into His Holy Word.
A much sweeter intimacy with Him.
Ultimately, we miss His best when we don’t give Him our best. Jesus made it clear when He said “There is only One thing worth being concerned about” Let’s invite a little Mary into our lives and discover it for ourselves.
Sometimes we look behind us to see how far ahead we are, but it slows us down. Brokenness catches up, drags us through the mud and reminds us of the woman we used to be. A woman with shame written across her face and condemnation smudged over her heart. A woman tied together with only a broken smile.
Other times we escape the self-defeating clutches of brokenness. We see it for what it is—the past. Something, we can’t control. In these moments we see a snapshot of the woman we want to become. A woman who sees herself as God sees her. A woman who is confident God loves her just as she is (see Deut. 23:5).
When we feel the urge to run from the memories of a broken past, we must ask ourselves who are we running to? Are we running into the arms of a mudslinging world or into the healing hands of Jesus?
Our Savior is just around the corner. He stands in front of us with arms extended. He’s calling us by name. He’s challenging us to keep our eyes on him in the midst of our brokenness. He wants to teach us that brokenness…
shatters our will,
ensures our surrender,
recognizes our sin, and
changes our response.
The Bible promises that Jesus will restore us (Ps. 71:20); repair our brokenness (Ps. 34:18); carry our burdens (Matt. 11:28); and give us new hope (Lam. 3:19-20).
The next time we hear the heavy footsteps of brokenness behind us, we must focus on Jesus and sprint towards Him instead. We can’t afford to allow brokenness to lure us down yet another dark alley.
Remember, grace girls glorify God, not their brokenness!
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
you will again bring me up.
These teachable moments reactivate us, rearrange us and refine us. Our wordly whine is replaced with a godly shine. Our numbness fades and suddenly we’re in awe of every mountain He’s ever moved. The Word of God that once seemed watered down is now gloriously alive. It speaks to us. It moves through us.
It seems as though we are soaring but our feet never leave the ground. We feel super-human. We want to give up everything for Him. We want to express our head-over-heels love for Him.
He speaks His heavenly agenda into our “me-driven” hearts. It brings meaning. It defines who we are.
A divine touch, a gentle nudge, or a soft whisper can happen anyplace, anywhere, at anytime. Yes girl, you can have a Jesus experience while your elbow high in greasy sink water, carpooling with road rage on your mind, or knee deep in heaping piles of laundry (clean or dirty-take your pick).
I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I know how it feels to be loved by Jesus, held by Jesus and even carried by Jesus. Have you ever been held in His merciful arms? Do you know how it feels to lose yourself in Him? If not please take a minute, bow your head, and boldly make your request known!
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me,” (Phil. 3:12 NIV).
Grace breathes new life into a spiritless soul. It doesn’t keep a record of wrong. It promises not to look backwards. It loves going forwards.
It began on the gentle hill of Calvary’s mount where the lamb was sacrificed, His blood spilled.
For the believer, grace peacefully flows from the outer realms of heaven and pours into our wretched soul.
Grace waits for us. It longs for us. It waits to hear one small word… “yes.”
Is bigger than all our sin;
It exceeds our guilt;
Given at Christ’s expense;
Swapped for our unrighteousness;
Gives confident hope;
Our strength comes from it;
Basis of our eternal hope; and
Grace is the foundation for forgiveness.
Grace is an unmerited favor toward us. We are undeserving of it but we receive it anyway. We stand firm in it (see 1 Peter 5:12). It overflows to us, the saint; and saves us, the sinner (see Eph. 2:5-8).
It enables us to live worthy of the call (2 Thess. 1:11).
Grace is marvelous, infinite, and matchless!
What does God’s grace mean to you today?
“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace,” (1 Cor. 15:10 NLT).
My mind wanders up high above the sky into the heavens to imagine just what I might see.
Eyes closed tight, no peeking allowed,
Look, there are Noah and the animals up on that cloud!
I see Abraham, Elijah, David and Paul
Will I really get to play with them all?
I begin to hear the loud trumpets ringing,
And the chorus of heavenly Angels are ever so sweetly singing…
“Welcome precious child, we’ve been waiting for you,
Come see your eternal home where there is nothing you can’t do!”
Walk this way child, claim your promises here,
This is ALL for you, there is nothing to fear.
There are 12 marvelous gates, each one made of a single perfect pearl,
I gaze up at their beauty, my mind spins in a whirl.
And the streets, how they sparkle, made of the purest gold,
what an awesome and wonderful sight to behold!
Heaven’s brilliant sky swiftly catches my eye,
Silver lined with diamonds and rubies invite me way up high.
These stones, how they shimmer and shine,
I am so happy I can claim this as mine!
The closer I get, my hands begin to raise,
It IS Him, the face of my God I will forever praise!
You see in heaven, the King of Kings will reign in all His glory,
but that is not the end of this treasured story.
The never-ending water of life is pure and clear as glass,
Every thing God promised has come to pass.
There will be no need for this earthly moon or sun,
We will live in the light provided by the glory of the Holy One,
So keep your eyes closed and imagine God’s grace,
You’ll never know a more majestic place!
In heaven, you are never hungry, thirsty or tired,
Only a child-like heart is required.
God will wipe away the last tear you will ever shed,
There will be no sadness here, find only joy ahead!
Just take hold of your heavenly Father’s right hand
And walk through the gates into this new and glorious land.
I open my eyes as if waking up from a dream
A smile crosses my face and so it may seem, that Jesus and I make a great team!
One day soon those who believe in God will see
the home that Jesus built for you and me!
The hot summer sun sends me inside where the kitchen table is piled with fresh green beans just waiting for my eager little hands to snip off every one of their pointy ends. Then my eyes catch a glimpse of it… the closed door leading to an upstairs mystery of clothing and mementos from years past.
I saunter off to steal a peak and to plot a secret discovery mission, but just as I grip the knob I hear something even more alluring. My ears perk at the methodic sound of the creaking, low-back wooden rocking chair moving against the hard wood floor of the front room. In it sits my grandmother; I crawl onto her lap and into her embrace as she lovingly rocks my sleepy eyes closed. I love it here. This place is a veritable treasure box of simple pleasures.