Day 13: You Are Not Alone
Can you believe we are still talking about Martha? Believe me, I love Mary. She is one of my favorite characters in the entire Bible. I have studied her, wept over her, imitated her and ran a "million" times to the altar to sign up to become like her. The only problem is I am much more like Martha than Mary. We are used to hearing sermons exalting Mary and despising Martha. We praise one and condemn the other. In doing so we are subconsciously also condemning ourselves. In order to enter Mary's rest we need to understand Martha's frenzy. When Martha sits down and Mary starts serving the dead will be raised.
Today we are looking at another component contributing to Martha's restlessness: She felt alone. Anyone who has ever worked on serious conflict resolution or as a counselor knows that it is important to listen to the underlying messages people communicate. In break-down moments we say more than we want to say. Martha felt abandoned and dare I say, it was not about doing the dishes. How do I know? Because of the way Jesus responds. People rarely suffer a burnout from cooking dinner. Kitchen work becomes too much when our heart is overloaded. And that's what happened to Martha.
Though we can only speculate here some scholars belief her parents died early and she inherited the home as the oldest of the household. Apparently she was not married otherwise the house would have been named after her husband. Whatever her story might have been - and there were plenty of possible plots in first century Israel - in the depths of her heart, hidden behind a stellar performance and a smooth running household was a deep loneliness. Loneliness is a cruel companion. Loneliness will keep us busy and distracted because it numbs the pain. The elder son in Luke 15 worked the fields for years, feeling far away from his father. Loneliness keeps us distant when we all we long for is closeness.
Jesus responds: Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Join the circle of My friends sitting at My feet who - by the way - all had their issues: Peter the hothead, Judas the thief, Thomas the doubter, James and John, the ambitious ones. When Martha felt left alone she was invited into a family of imperfect Saints bound together by the love of a perfect Man. Perfectionistic, busy and anxious Martha - there is a place for you at the table. You are not alone!