[T]here is a short story in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke where Jesus and his disciples visit sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha welcomes Jesus and his companions into her home and then at some point becomes irritated with her sister, Mary, for sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to what he is saying instead of helping with all of the preparations that need to be made for the group. Martha is so put out by Mary’s inaction that she goes to Jesus and says to him “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” And Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, 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.” (Read Luke 10:38-42 for the complete story)

I had forgotten how controversial this little story was until we came to it in my work Bible study the other day. I suddenly remembered the first time I encountered the story as a pastor. I had written an article for a ministry newsletter about my experience feeding the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles. Soon after, I received an email from a church member accusing me of being a Martha, when I should be a Mary. Frankly, I was shocked. His point was that we, as Christ-Followers, should constantly be studying, “at the feet of Jesus,” and only when we had the full knowledge of our Lord can we hope to emulate His grace to others. Needless to say, I did not agree. I based my counter argument on James 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV) We went back and forth over several emails until we agreed to disagree.

But still I need to ask, which is more biblical? Should I study the Bible or should I put it into practice? Bottom line for me is, Why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t it be both? I believe God did not give us the Bible just to read and meditate on. It is also an owner’s manual to show us how to act. All the Bible knowledge in the world is worthless unless it is shared. But you need one to experience the other. Taken in context with everything Jesus taught, I’m pretty sure He wants us to actively care for one another.

But then why did Jesus tell Martha that Mary had made the better choice? Putting aside all the cultural circumstances of the time between what was proper for men and women, I firmly believe it was Martha’s attitude that Jesus was rebuking. (I mean, someone had to make the meal for the guests, He wasn’t telling her to do nothing.) Martha was not a joyful servant. She is what I called in an earlier post, a joy-sucker. She was miserable and wanted Mary to be miserable too. If you look very closely at Martha’s words, she is not complaining about the work; she is complaining that Mary isn’t working. Martha was visit serving out of obligation and was envious of Mary’s position at Jesus’ feet.

When I am serving, I hope I am a Martha in actions and a Mary in attitude. Serving others brings me more joy and blessings as just about anything, but it is because of what I learned from Jesus’ life and example that makes it so. What about you? Where do you fall on this discussion? Are you more Martha-like or Mary-like? And where was their brother Lazarus when this was all going on?

 

 

 

Bröllopskläder lag är inte bara en, inte heller är det bara under en kort ceremoni på  har blivit en permanent minnen. För att bli av bröllopet i utbyte mot att gå problem, liksom kostnadsbesparande fördelarna med kraft, kan förvandla en sliten bröllop är definitivt det bästa valet bröllop