As we continue through the book of Luke, we now come to the end of chapter 10. An incident takes place that we usually just quickly gloss over. But I think it holds a truth that we need to take to heart.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
Luke 10:38 NIV
If you remember, the 72 disciples were traveling throughout Israel making preparations for Jesus to minister at various towns. One of the towns they prepared was Bethany. A woman named Martha agreed to host the meetings in that town.
Now the day had arrived, and Martha was doing her part. But she wasn’t happy about it.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Luke 10:39-40 NIV
Martha began to feel the challenges of all the things that needed to be done. As the pressure built, she had an emotional outburst. We’ve probably all been there.
There are times when we let the challenges of life get to us. We try to bottle it up inside. But, eventually the pressure gets too great and we crack. Many times it gets aimed at the very ones we love and who don’t deserve the scolding.
What you need to understand, is there was more going on here than what we see on the surface. Jesus saw what was actually at work in her life.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42 NIV
The Lord saw that Martha was “worried and upset”. That’s important to note. These words literally mean that she was distracted and caused to be in turmoil by many things going on in her life. What were those things?
First of all, her sister Mary, was a big problem in itself. For some reason she had a reputation around town as being a very sinful woman (John 11:2; Luke 7:37-38). And yet, she placed herself right at the feet of the visiting preacher.
On top of that, her brother Lazarus, had a very grave illness (John 11:1-14). He was probably bedridden. In all likelihood, Martha was the one caring for him constantly.
I don’t have the space to go into the details, but she had another concern. In my studies, I found that Martha had married a Pharisee who later contracted leprosy. Because of this, he had to leave home. The Law required him to quarantine himself away from society.
So, Martha had to bear all of these things alone. Her mind was distracted and troubled by all of these issues as she tried to host these meetings on her own. It turned out that all these things were more than she could handle. It caused her to break down.
The answer for her dilemma is the same as for us. Although she probably didn’t want to hear it any more than we do. During these times of crisis we have to spend more quality time in the presence of the Lord.
We think that the answer is to keep busy and “do something” to get out of our mess. In reality, the best thing is to simply spend some time listening to the voice of the Spirit. That’s what we really need to get us through the difficult seasons of our lives.
In the above passage, nothing is spoken of what Mary was going through. I’m sure she heard the whispers of those around her. She saw the looks of disgust on the faces of the townspeople.
In spite of all that negativity, she pushed herself to be in the position to receive the only thing that could set her free. She heard a Word from the mouth of God. Her life was changed forever.
We can experience the same thing in the Lord’s presence!
Question: How much quality time do you spend with the Holy Spirit?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi