As Jesus was traveling, He came to the city of Bethany. Upon entering the city, Jesus was greeted by Martha who generously opened her home to Jesus and His disciples.
Martha then began to run around the kitchen (like a chicken with her head cut off), busily preparing a meal, while her sister Mary just sat at Jesus feet. Feeling the burden of all of the preparations, Martha became very overwhelmed. She went to Jesus and complained,
“Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” Luke 11:40b
To which Jesus responded,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary [needful], for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 11:41b-42
“Worried and bothered about so many things.”
There are many times when I am worried and bothered with all that needs to get done. When the laundry pile seems to grow and the dishes seem to multiply. The children’s voices grow increasingly louder and the phone is ringing off the hook. All of this takes place as my strength grows less.
It is in these times that I become burdened down by all that is going on, taking my eyes off of Jesus and focus only on myself. In Matthew, Jesus gives us words that have been a great comfort to me, but especially recently, as I have felt completely overwhelmed.
“Come to Me, all who are weary [or who work to exhaustion] and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus calls all who are weary or who work to exhaustion (does that sound familiar?) to come to Him and He will give us rest. This rest will not mean our children, dishes, laundry, etc will just disappear. But it does mean that in our hearts we will have rest so we can take care of our responsibility. We will find peace and joy. We will still have a yoke and burden but because it is a yoke and burden given to us by Jesus, He will be right there beside us, carrying us through.
You see, Martha was not “in trouble” for making lunch. It was not wrong for her to be in the kitchen serving. Her sin came from not worshiping Jesus in the midst of her work.
We have been given a job. We have been called to serve Jesus (by caring for our families), just as Martha. When our work becomes a burden and we start to worry and be bothered about so many things we must stop, and turn our focus to Jesus. We must cry out to the Lord to be our strength.
Nehemiah 8:10b says, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
We can find joy in our serving, we can carry the yoke and burden the Lord has given us with joy as we find our strength in the Lord. We can serve our families and still have a heart of worship, just like Mary.
My desire for One Needful Thing, is to encourage you in your day to day service. To help you see how you can worship Jesus as Mary, while serving your family like Martha.