Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hope for Martha

The third petition of the Lord's Prayer is repeated daily by millions who have not the slightest intention of letting anyone's will be done but their own.
--Aldous Huxley

If you've been raised in a bible-reading family, like I have, you know the story of the two sisters, Mary and Martha. If you haven't, let me sum it up for you:

Mary and Martha are two sisters, who are found in the new testament in the time of Jesus. He goes to visit their house (He is very good friends with their brother, as a matter of fact) and begins to teach. Martha, being the scuttled sister, prepares the house, while Mary instead sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to His words. Martha, in a fit of jealousy, finally asks Jesus, "why don't you make her help me?"And Jesus looks at her, and tells her calmly that Mary just wants to listen, and that he wouldn't take that away from her for anything. (Luke 10:38-42, if you want to read it yourself)

Martha is known for this little episode- for being busied with the things of the world, for not understanding what was important in life. She is a life lesson- don't be like Martha, you'll just be troubled with frivolous things and you'll miss the most important part of knowing God- actually listening to it. It's a shame, because Martha was the sister that understood the social implications of having the Lord in her home, but didn't know how to properly express herself- she felt that serving the Lord would be a clean home and a good meal. Mary figured out early that it was just a matter of sitting down to listen- the house could wait.

I've always found myself to be a bit of a Martha- I've always seen the importance of living a real life, and on occasion, it has interfered with my listening skills. See, the world puts out these ridiculous stipulations on what life is supposed to be like, and I've been sitting in them for most of my life, so of course, I still struggle when the Lord says "go against the world," because it's really all I know. But lately I'm realizing that the world has these rules and guides that are impossible. I'm realizing that the world doesn't ever make enough money (let's talk debt, shall we?). I'm learning that the world never has enough love, and the love it does have is too hard to maintain (thank you, ridiculous divorce rate). I'm understanding that the world that I have been taught to live in is all about never being good enough, about always having to try for the next best thing, and about making a mark before you die, all without any guidance on HOW you should do it.

But when we pull a Mary- when we actually sit down and listen intently, God gives us all the guidance in the world. And suddenly money is less important, and love is in abundance, and that mark that we need to make? It's been made on us first.

And here is a little something you might not know about Martha- the effect Jesus has on her. She doesn't turn away from God to start a house cleaning business. Instead, she takes the lesson to heart and learns to rely on Him.

If you don't know how Martha's redemption goes, you can read about it in John 11:1-12:11. This little piece of the story often get's overlooked, but is amazing. Lazarus, Martha and Mary's brother who is a friend of Jesus', get's very sick. He dies a few days before Jesus gets back in to town. But when Jesus makes it back, Martha comes to meet him and bring him back to the house. She tells him that she's knows that Lazarus is dead, but she also has been listening, and she knows that if the Son Of God wants him up and moving again, He can make it happen. Martha has learned that the world believes things to be a certain way, but they aren't always (or even frequently) true. She learns that listening and trusting is more than the world can ever do. And her faith is not empty- Jesus raises Lazarus to life again that very day.

If you are a little bit Martha, take heart. This is hope for those of us who the world has made a stable impression on. It won't last forever, and one day, we too can learn to believe. If first, we learn to listen.

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