Welcome! I’m so glad you’re joining us for this seven-week Bible study based on Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart. We’ll be studying the lives of seven incredible New Testament women. It’s the perfect way to journey through Lent together.
Martha: The Busy Girl
Read: Luke 10: 38-42
I have a confession to make… I’m a terrible host. I’ve never liked cooking that much, and when we have more than two people to entertain, I’m a nervous wreck. I cannot imagine how Martha must have felt as she busied herself for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples. It’s my idea of the ultimate nightmare.
I mean, Jesus is coming to dinner. For me, that would be like entertaining the Queen of England. Wouldn’t you want your place to be perfect and your baking top-notch if the Son of God was coming to your eat at your house? Hospitality was an important social requirement of the times. No-one can blame Martha for wanting everything to be perfect. Just imagine all the jobs she’d already done in preparation…
Slip into Martha’s sandals for a moment and put yourself in her position…
Jesus knocks on the door, the house is filling with important people, and you’re the one doing all the work. Your little sister’s not in the kitchen, where she really needs to be, and when you go in search of her, you find her on the floor, gazing up in admiration at the guest you’ve been slaving your socks off for.
In exasperation, you cry out to Jesus:
Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! Luke 10: 40
Given the circumstances, it’s a request that seems fairly reasonable to me. But instead of taking your side, Jesus almost rebukes you:
Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 41-42
And this is the man you’ve just been slaving over a hot stove for!
There’s not a woman in this world who wouldn’t feel some empathy for Martha at this point. Even if you’re not a feminist, the compassionate side of every female wants to defend this hard-working girl who’s doing everything while Mary sits dreamily at Jesus’ feet.
But surely, being at the feet of Jesus is just where he wants us to be. Because when we’re at his feet, that’s when we’ll see the nails.
That’s when we’ll be reminded of the one thing that is needed… which is to be listening to Jesus.
Isn’t it only when we listen to Jesus that we’ll know for sure what we’re supposed to be busy about?
And once we know that, then we can go out and be a Martha in this hurting world.
God of grace, you know me better than I know myself. During this time of Lent, help me, more than ever, to lay aside all my distractions, and listen to what you would say to me. Help me to have Mary’s willingness to sit at your feet, and Martha’s energy as you send me out to do your work in the world. Amen.
Questions For Reflection:
- Are you more of a Martha, or a Mary? Which sister can you relate to most?
- How are you doing with your Lenten walk?
- Who do you know who is like a Mary or a Martha? What do you admire about them?
- What is God revealing to you in this story?