March 13, 2022
by Matt Pierce, Council President
The 27th Psalm is a “Triumph Song of Confidence.” It is speaking to David as well as us. It helps give confidence to David, who is facing many troubles as well as the roadblocks that we face today. Here is a portion of that Psalm: “The Lord is my might and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the refuge of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?… Hear. O Lord, when I cry aloud, be gracious to me and answer me. … I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. … Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
The bible story of Martha has confused Christians for hundreds of years. In the story, which Kathy read to us today, Martha was worried about getting all her tasks done and being a good hostess.
Worrying can be and often is a bane in our everyday lives. I know that I am a worrier, and over the years worrying about things has actually been a hindrance because it took focus away from the important issues I needed to be dealing with. A certain amount of worry and anxiety can be helpful. Getting ready for an important event, for example. Or making sure important tasks are taken care of, but that’s what lists and notes are for. Of course, if you can’t find your list, that just adds to our anxiety.
I would often worry about the future to the point of being paralyzed and not getting anything accomplished, especially a daily walk and talk with God and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. We should limit worry and not worry about what might happen because there is often not a single thing, we can do about it.
The story of Martha and Mary is a picture of opposite people. It is a story we can return to study again and again in our walk of faith because the lesson is timeless. We all have aspects of Martha and Mary in us.
Let us reflect on some questions:
1. Do I have my priorities in order?
2. Am I worried or anxious about many things, or am I focused on Jesus and spending time with him?
3. Am I concerned too much with good deeds and not putting devotion to Christ and his words first?
Martha and Mary were the sisters of Lazarus, the man Jesus raised from the dead. All 3 of them were close friends of Jesus Christ. They lived in a town about 2 miles from Jerusalem called Bethany. Jesus and his disciples stopped by their home and the story of Martha and Mary came to life.
For centuries people in the church have puzzled over the story of Martha and Mary, knowing that someone must do the work. They were missing the point of the story which was about making Jesus and his word first priority. Today we come to know Jesus better through prayer, worship attendance, and Bible study. Fixing a meal for a number of guests was a major job and Martha was anxious about impressing her guests.
Martha has been compared to the Apostle Peter: practical, impulsive, and short tempered to the point of rebuking the Lord himself. Mary is more like the Apostle John: reflective, loving, and calm. You must admire Martha. She was a remarkable woman and deserves a lot of credit. Being the head of the household and taking care of her own affairs was rare for a woman in Jesus’ day, especially to invite a man to her house. Her act of inviting Jesus and his followers into her home implied the fullest form of hospitality. It also involved a great amount of generosity.
You can think of the two sisters as essential opposites. Martha, the service to others was very important to her. Mary on the other hand, chose to be at Jesus’ feet. Jesus did not scold Martha for her service. He gently scolded her for being “worried and anxious.” Service is a good thing, but sitting at Jesus’ feet is BEST! We must remember what is most important.
Good works should evolve from a Christ-centered life: they do not produce a Christ-centered life. When we give Jesus the attention he deserves, he empowers us to serve others. AMEN