Whenever Jesus repeats a name twice like this it is an expression of deep emotion. He says Martha, Martha. Jesus is concerned for Martha, because…
Neglecting Jesus’ feet leaves you anxiously busy, wanting control and far from God.
I remember my first couple of years in college at Florida International University. I was involved in so many things at one time. I was singing at church. I was a leader in the youth ministry. I was the president of a very active campus ministry. I was apart of a male singing group that was trying to become the next Take 6. I was involved in so much ministry that you would’ve thought I would have got the hint of what my calling was, but I was a reluctant recruit. I’ll never forget that the a day came where I was so overwhelmed by all the good stuff I was involved in, that my grades started to suffer and I was burning out. I came home one night and in front of my mom and my grandmother I began to break down and cry. I was doing all this great stuff for God, but something was wrong. They began to tell me I needed to let some things go. And they were right, but something was still missing. You see I had learned a lot about God. I grew up in the church. I had been baptized. I served God faithfully, but I didn’t yet know how to have a daily relationship with Him, sitting at His feet. I soon learned how from one of the elders at my church. I hadn’t yet learned that doing things for God, flows naturally out of being with God. I had neglected regularly being at Jesus’ feet. This was the problem with Martha.
There is a striking similarity between Martha and the older brother of the prodigal son story. Both of them stayed home while the other sibling left to live a sinful life. Both of them had a problem with the other sibling when they finally came home and were restored. Both of them were hard workers. And in both stories God is left pleading with them, the implication is, at the peril of there own souls!
Martha was too busy serving Jesus, to actually have time with Jesus. She knew that Jesus had come to Bethany to relax and she was anxious to make preparations to serve Him. The Bible says that she was actually distracted by the good she was doing for Jesus. By Jesus saying that she was worried and troubled about many things leaves me to believe that this wasn’t just how she was on this occasion alone, but this was her constant state of mind. She was very busy, but full of anxiety. No peace. This is what happens when you neglect a daily relationship with Jesus. You become a very anxious person, because your heart is not at rest through trusting in Jesus. You begin to walk in fear and not faith. You worry about everything, because you’re trying to do it all yourself. You begin to carry the weight of the world, which you were never meant to carry.
When you are governed by worry, anxiety and fear it leads you to want to control everything. You want control of things, because you fear what seems to be out of control to you. You want to control people, outcomes, life plans, you name it. You begin to become like Martha, who wanted to control the situation by giving Jesus orders to tell Mary to help her. Can you relate with Martha for a moment? She’s like that working student that is apart of a group project, but someone’s not carrying their own weight, so the work is falling on you. Martha felt left alone to serve. She’s a doer. She has a get the job done yourself if necessary personality, but resents that no one is helping her the whole time. She is concerned and obsessed with other peoples behavior while neglecting her own lack of relationship with Jesus! So when she thinks things are out of control she feels its her job to take control, because obviously God’s not doing anything about it! That’s when we start to take the place of God in our lives, even to the point of telling Him what He needs to do!
Jesus says to Martha, “Mary has chosen the good part” which implies that her current state was not good. It is not good to be distracted from Jesus by doing good for Him. Jesus is telling her that she is further from God than she thinks. This is the same thing that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7: 22-23...