Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Tale of Two Sisters - Part 1

Christmas is now just 10 days away. So, honestly, is all of your shopping done? How about the wrapping? Are all the Christmas cookies and baked goods finished? Have you attended all of the Christmas gatherings you have been invited to? Are all the Christmas cards signed and mailed? Is the house ready for all of the holiday guests you will be having? How much is left on your Christmas “to do” list? Chances are you are about ready to go into a full frenzy as the countdown continues toward December 25th.

That was the same case with Martha in Luke 10:38-42. She and her sister, Mary, lived in the village of Bethany which was just 2 miles east of Jerusalem. Their brother, Lazarus, was far more popular in that four days after he died, Jesus raised him from the dead as seen in John 11. Now these sisters were about ready for a big celebration at their house. Martha had invited Jesus and His disciples into their home for dinner. There was much to do but these two sisters responded to the “to do” list in completely different ways.

Mary can be characterized as a worshipper in her response. With all that there was to do, where was Mary? She was seated at the Lord’s feet. It is interesting to note that Mary is seen two other times in the Gospels and on both occasions she is sitting at the feet of Jesus. In John 11:32, Mary meets Jesus four days after Lazarus was buried, falls at his feet, and says to Him, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’ Then, in John 12:3, after the resurrection of her brother, Mary took a pound of very costly perfume and anointed the feet of Jesus. In all circumstances of our life we should find ourselves like Mary - at the feet of Jesus.

And what was Mary doing in Luke 10 at the feet of Jesus? She was listening to the Lord’s words. Yes, there was a lot to do but some activities can wait. There is a time to work and there is a time to listen. May I suggest to you that no matter how much of a “to do” list that you have left to accomplish, Christmas is more of a time for listening.

Now let’s compare Mary with Martha. While Mary is characterized as a worshipper, Martha can be characterized as a worker. Even though Jesus was sitting in her house, Martha was distracted with all of the preparations. Martha had invited Jesus into her home then neglected Him. But doesn’t that describe a lot of Christians at Christmas time? We have invited Jesus into our lives. We have received Him as our Savior and our Lord. We have declared Him to be our God and our King. Yet, at the very time of the year when He is the reason for the celebration, we who have invited Him into our lives are often the ones that end up neglecting Him.

Now to Martha’s defense, there would have been much to do. The word “they” in verse 38 is speaking of Jesus and His disciples. That’s 13 men invited over for dinner. Talk about busy! But beware. When things get busy, the first thing to go is often time with the Lord. Christmas is a busy time. That’s why spending time with Jesus is often the first thing to go in the midst of fulfilling our Christmas “to do” list. More tomorrow.

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