When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.”
“Yes,” Martha said, “he will rise when everyone else rises, at the last day.”
Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?”
“Yes, Lord,” she told him. “I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.”
This is Martha’s confession. She is the only other person in the New Testament to say aloud, communicate, that Jesus was/is the Messiah (Peter is the other.)
But she didn’t start out this way. . .
You remember Martha, right? When we first meet her in scripture, she has Jesus in her living room, and she is worried about being the perfect hostess. Instead of being present and mindful in the moment she has been given and making a connection with Jesus, she is trying to earn her way into Jesus’ heart (through His stomach). By ‘doing’ things for Him, she does not realize her work is cutting her off from the one relationship she wants most.
Are you like Martha? I know I am: workaholic, more like multitaskaholic, looking for significance, and feeling like I am doing it all alone? Martha is a leader, not a follower. She is the one who makes things happen. Do you see yourself here too? Martha’s story is one like many of us as women: mothers, daughters, business owners, caregivers, carpoolers, party-planners, . . . you get the picture.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how many times Jesus stopped at Martha’s home during His three years of ministry; I would have to imagine it was more often than we know. How else could she feel comfortable enough with Him to stop the action in the living room and complain about her sister’s lack of help?
Martha’s overwhelm comes from trying to do it all alone. She has the right idea bringing the situation to the attention of Jesus, but she doesn’t get the answer she expected. Instead she gets a wake-up call to what is real. To what is truly important.
Each of us has many responsibilities and at times not enough hours in the day. We also have our meltdowns, like Martha. Know this, God never intends for you to carry everything without Him (Matthew 11:28-29). In fact, He promises rest for your soul.
And she does learn. . .
The last time we glimpse into Martha’s story is when her brother, Lazarus, has fallen ill and she sends for Jesus. Apparently, she is keeping close tabs on him and knows where he is located. Jesus arrives too late and Lazarus dies. Again, Martha is entertaining important townspeople, working hard to serve those who have come to pay their respects.
BUT, she hears that Jesus is coming down the road and runs to meet him. She is no longer fussing over the work that must be done. She knows ‘this is the better’ and goes to meet Jesus.
By being in relationship with Jesus she can’t help to have changed from the inside out. Her personality is still bold; she is still organizing events and running her household. But, by being touched by Jesus she has been given a new way of looking at her work.
Is there a difference between the sacred and the secular? Martha shows us there is not. As she leads her household, she has many responsibilities. She is never asked to give that up as she follows Christ. Her work serves the kingdom and is God-given. It is necessary work to fulfill God’s plan for her and to bring Him glory.
Jesus wants Martha’s heart but never tells her to separate her work-life from her faith-life. He wants her work to have purpose and meaning. And, she gets to be remembered as the women who communicated WHO Jesus is, the Messiah. What a gift.
Now it’s your turn. . .
Martha learned that her faith-life and her work-life were intertwined. That she could do her work and show God’s glory through it. He has placed you in the marketplace to do this also.
Here is a strategy for you. Each day as you plan your activities, focus on three things: Required, Return, Reward. Think What is required of me today? What activities give me a return on my investment (not always financial)? And, What is the reward for being involved in what I am doing? Seeing the activities of your entire life, specifically your work, as your way to give God glory is the starting point.
How is God changing your view of work and faith? To learn more about you can continue to grow in this area, check out the 5Ps to Significance & Satisfaction Program. Only when you follow His plan, know His purpose, and access His power can you partner with Him to prosper in life. Let Martha’s confession of Truth be yours too.
Grow form your overflow,