In the story of Lazarus’ sisters Mary and Martha, most of us admire the faith of Mary. She would always choose to be with Jesus and listen to Him rather than do other things. There was one story in the Bible when Martha was upset because while she was busy preparing food for Jesus, Mary was just sitting by Jesus’ side and listening to Him.
I could imagine Martha by the kitchen, busy cutting the ingredients and maybe checking if the rice is already cooked and then go back to what she’s cooking again and pour in the ingredients she just cut. And then in the midst of these kitchen chaos, she suddenly heard Mary laughing joyously at Jesus’ jokes and then Martha looked at the living room and saw her sister just chilling there while she doesn’t know if she’s going to pick up the ladle or the kitchen knife. Get the picture?
Who wouldn’t feel upset, right?
Martha felt it was unfair so she went to Jesus and somehow ranted about Mary not helping her prepare stuff. And what was Jesus’ answer?
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Lk. 10:41-42)
In as much as I would want to be like Mary, I often find myself being a Martha. I tend to focus on my worries than on Jesus and His power to get me through my situations. Even in the ministry, I tend to worry about how I can echo in the preachings about Jesus to my lifegroup members in such a way that it can make an impact in their lives. I’m so pressed on making them feel and enjoy the love of Jesus that I tend to focus on that goal than letting Jesus work His way into their hearts. I wanted to please Jesus but I found myself losing Him in the feast because I’m too busy thinking about other things rather than keeping my eyes focused on Him.
I’m such a worrier and that’s something that I’m sooo not happy about. Sometimes when I’m too preoccupied with all these worries, this story would pop in my head and I would think of Martha and how I’m being like her.
That’s just one story.
And here’s the other.
When Lazarus died and after the scene in the house, Jesus and the sisters went to the tomb where Lazarus was laid. He asked that the stone be removed. But Martha immediately said:
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
You can see here the BUT attitude of Martha. She trusts Jesus. She has faith in Him. But still, she couldn’t stop herself from wondering why would Jesus ask that the stone be removed if He knows that Lazarus is already dead. Even if she knows and trusts Jesus can do miracles, still she can’t get rid of her “BUT.”
Admittedly, I could see myself in this situation. I have faith in Jesus. I know He will get me through whatever situations I am in. But still, there are times when I doubt if Jesus would really grant me with what I’m praying for.
There was an instance when I applied for this school that I really really like. I’ve been praying for that school because I really want to work there. The interview went well and the demo teaching was awesome, according to the principal. After the demo teaching, I could say that I could almost feel the victory. I’ve prayed hard about it. I claimed the position will be mine.
But it didn’t. I got an email from the department head who interviewed me that I didn’t get the job and they chose another one.
Right that moment, I had a feeling of what went wrong. It was not because I didn’t deserve the job or I was not good enough.
It was because I doubted. No matter how much I’ve prayed about it, I have to admit that there was a pinch of doubt in my heart that Jesus would actually grant me that prayer request. It was not because He doesn’t love me or He doesn’t care about what would make me happy. It was because I didn’t give my full trust in Him. I know He can give me that job but I had that tinge of fear He wouldn’t.
There was that ‘BUT’ moment. But what if God wouldn’t give it to me? I know Jesus can bless me that but what if He doesn’t like to?
In my quiet time today, I was reminded of my Martha-like attitudes. I was reminded of how I’m somehow doubting God just because I’m magnifying the things that should not be magnified. I’m failing to magnify God because of those fears and doubts and worries.
Jesus doesn’t ask too much from me. He doesn’t ask me to die for Him or be stoned to death for Him. He only wants my faith and trust in Him. That’s all He’s asking of me. And a lot of times, I fail Him because I tend to focus on my worries and fears.
I admire Martha’s domesticated, responsible and straightforward traits, but I also want to be like Mary who just enjoyed Jesus’ presence in the midst of the chaos. That even if there’s a lot going on in the kitchen or the house was messy, Mary still found the time to just fellowship with Jesus.
Just like Mary, I hope I can also really just focus on Jesus. That even if there are a lot of things going on in my life, I will not lose my focus on Him. That as much as I’m preparing myself for Him, I will all the more enjoy being with Him because that’s what matters the most.
Martha isn’t a bad girl. She’s not a nemesis in the Bible. She was just too focused and driven. She loved to perform acts of service toward others and was a hospitable hostess. She loved Jesus with all of her heart. But most of the time, she tends to forget that more than what she can offer to Jesus, He just wants to be with her and fellowship with her more.
Now that’s really a good reminder for me and for most of us. I hope that despite the worries of this life, we won’t lose Jesus in the feast. Jesus doesn’t need our works. Most of the time, He just wants us to really enjoy His presence. He just wants us to enjoy our date with Him and listen to Him or pour out ourselves to Him. He wants us and not what we can offer Him.