The woman that I read about this week in my devotional is Martha. I love the story of Martha, her sister Mary, and their brother Lazarus.
Scripture says Jesus loved them.
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
Can you imagine, forever and all time, God's Word saying He loved you by name?
Now obviously we already know that the Bible says God loves all of us.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
But the Bible says that Jesus loved them by their names.
He was their friend.
It would be the most amazing feeling to open up the Bible and read the words, "Jesus loved Amy and her family."
Much like the relationship that I have with my friend Kenny, Jesus spent time with them. He enjoyed their company. I can just picture them laughing over funny memories while enjoying dinner together.
He obviously looked forward to spending time with them, as much as they looked forward to spending time with Him.
He definitely had a special relationship with this family, and that in a nutshell is why the story of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus is one of my favorites.
It lets us see Jesus simply as a friend.
A friend that they obviously felt completely comfortable around.
Mary felt comfortable enough to sit at His feet and hang on to His every Word.
And Martha knew that she was safe to go straight to Him with her complaints and frustrations about her sister.
That type of comfort comes only after time spent in getting to know each other.
Of course, the Bible doesn't tell us of all of the times that they were together, and it doesn't tell us everything they did or discussed.
But relationships that are that comfortable don't just happen. They develop over time.
Scripture tells us that Martha opened her home to Jesus.
"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him."
From what I have been taught regarding "opening her home" in Bible times, it doesn't mean that she just opened the door and said to Jesus, "Come on in!"
It means she literally invited Him to come inside and make her home, His home. She would have rolled out the red carpet of hospitality for however long His stay would be.
I know myself, if company is coming, I want the house to be clean. I want food to be available, and I want my guests to feel like my home is their home. (And since most of my friends that visit always start yawning and want to go to sleep, I think I definitely make them feel comfortable. I don't know if they always approve of my cleaning and cooking skills, but they definitely know that they can kick their feet up and relax.) ;)
How much more so would I be this way if I knew it was Jesus that would be staying with me. Like Martha, I can see myself working feverishly to make everything perfect for Him.
Martha gets criticized so much for her story as told in Scripture, since she was complaining to Jesus, but let's be honest with one another....Don't we all do this at one time or another?
Martha was human just like the rest of us.
Although Mary chose a very good thing to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him as He spoke, Martha was trying to do the same thing in her service to Jesus. She was misguided, maybe, but non the less, she was doing what she thought was her best.
I wonder if Mary was going through something extremely difficult, as opposed to Martha at the time.
I know when I am in great emotional pain, I spend so much more time talking to God. Every time we see Mary in Scripture, she is at the feet of Jesus.
I don't know what was going on in her life, but I know in my own, when I am hurting, I, too, find myself frequently at Jesus' feet.
These are just things I wonder about. Every one of us has our own story. Our own pain. Our own individual relationship with the Lord. We are all in different seasons in our walks with the Lord.
Even though Martha's feelings about Mary were misguided, I love the fact that she carried her frustrations straight to Jesus. Scripture doesn't say that she slammed the cabinet doors, or banged the dishes together. No, Scripture says she went right to Jesus with her complaints.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
Here is Jesus' response to her.
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
I can picture Jesus trying not to smile as He gently spoke those words to her.
Remember Scripture says...
"Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus."
He corrected her wrong thinking towards Mary, but oh, how He loved her!
He must have been so pleased that she brought her frustrations straight to Him.
She wasn't gossiping about Mary to any one else who would listen; she went straight to Him.
1 Peter 5:7
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
In that way, oh how I would love to be a Martha!
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
We need to be careful how we misjudge the women and men and their stories that God shares with us in the Bible. They were all human, just like us. There is so much to learn from their mistakes, as well as their triumphs.
I will share more next week of my study of Martha and her family.
P.S. Thank you for the lovely picture, Dianne.