A week before the passover Jesus as would anyone, wanted to take a short rest before his last and most significant event of His earthly ministry. John 12:1-8 talks about this. The short respite begins well with dinner with some friends in a wonderful home in Bethany. This is a place that has welcomed Him before. We do not know the timeline whether it was one, two or even six weeks since Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life. Lazarus, Martha and Mary are very dear friends who have not only cared for Jesus, but have been the target of what many consider the second most significant event in His ministry.
This week, Jesus may simply want to relax, but there is still work to do. There are still people that do not understand. There are still lessons to learn. There are still people to expose. There is still scripture to write, history to make.
Martha loves Jesus as does Mary. The difference between the two of them is stark. Mary’s is pure emotional love that drives her to deep despair when confronted with sadness, and elated spiritual freedom when she experiences joy. She lives on these extremes. Martha lives moment by moment concentrating on individual tasks, serving and encouraging others to serve and accomplish the work needed to live day to day. Her satisfaction is in working hard, finishing a day exhausted, collapsing in bed and sleeping well. Though Mary can surmise others operate differently than her, she is certainly more open to that idea. Martha is sometimes unable to envision how anyone can do nothing when there is everything to do. She struggles to comprehend there are motivations other than basic survival, preparing for or executing the next event, dinner or chore.
Martha and Mary represent so much of humanity. One is toiling on their own motivation unable to see the things around them that are equally and often greater in importance that daily chores. The other is care free and though functional between the extremes of elation and depression, can leap to either at a moment’s notice. Both can miss important things, one seems self-justified in their ignorance.
How often have we thought, we’d like to go to church, but then saw the yard, looked at the mess in the garage, considered the need to do that oil change, opened the freezer and saw how empty it was, saw the barn and how new straw was needed.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all have our challenges. Can we set them aside and serve only the Lord? That is our daily, sometimes moment by moment challenge, isn’t it? Choose the Lord my friends. You will never be disappointed.