In the New Testament, Martha is primarily known as the complaining woman whom Yahshua rebuked. The story, as told in Luke 10: 38-42, tells that Yahshua had been asked to eat at the home of Martha.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Master’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, “Master, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Yahshua responded, “Martha, Martha, 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.”
Martha is often remembered in a negative manner, but she was also a most conscientious and worthy woman who had a deep faith in Yahshua and was dearly loved by Him. When her brother, Lazarus, died and Yahshua came to bring him back to life, He first asked Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies: and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
With no hesitation, Martha answered, “Yes, Master. I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of Yahweh, who was to come into the world.” I think many people have a Martha-side to them. I know that I do. When life gets so hectic and we are trying to do so much in a limited period of time, it is easy to become overwhelmed and frustrated. I love cooking and I love visitors, but I can go into a complete meltdown when having company for dinner.
For example, with the whole afternoon ahead of me, I consider all of the marvelous dishes I could prepare, but I must first find the location of my favorite recipe. Recipe in hand, I realize that I am out of one ingredient and prepare to drive to the small country market four miles away, but the car keys are missing. I begin a frantic search through the pockets of coats and jeans. Keys located, trip completed, home again, pots finally bubbling on the stove and delicious smells coming from the oven, I start to prepare the salad.
Midway through chopping radishes, I decide instead to set the table. Most of the forks are still in the dishwasher, unwashed. I fill the sink with hot soapy water, grab the forks and begin scrubbing. In the meantime, the stuff on the stove bubbles over, the cat has just deposited a hairball in front of the refrigerator, the UPS truck is coming down our driveway with a package delivery, and, then, the phone rings. Company is due to arrive within the hour. My son walks into the kitchen and, noticing the panicky look in my eyes, remarks casually, “Gee, mom, you really need to learn relaxation exercises.” Resisting all temptation, I silently scream…
Consider Yahshua’s words when He said, “Only one thing is needed.” Did He mean that they only needed one dish for their meal instead of many? Perhaps, but further reading, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her,” reveals a deeper meaning. Mary’s attention and devotion to the Messiah and His message would last beyond a meal – the spiritual feeding she was receiving would last for eternity.
Does this mean that we, as daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers are to neglect our responsibilities in service to our families, friends and neighbors? Of course not; but we should put these activities in perspective. Some things are more important than others and, when looking at the whole picture, we need to separate the small stuff from what really matters in this life – studying His word and learning how to better serve Him and each other with patience and humility. I truly identify with Martha’s situation, but know from first-hand experience that it is counterproductive for me or those around me to become so agitated. So, when I am in Martha’s state of mind, I often stop, take a deep breath and say to myself, “Just one thing, Martha!”
Now, if I could only convince my family to eat just one thing each night for dinner…
by: Debbie Reed