Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas Tale of Two Sisters - Part 2

Be sure to read part one in yesterday’s posting before continuing on with today’s post.

As we saw in yesterday’s post, Martha is a worker. But now Martha’s focus shifts from Jesus to herself. Her focus on all of the preparations turns into a state of self-pity. She finally verbalizes her feelings to Jesus saying, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me!” The Greek structure implies that Martha fully expected a positive answer from Jesus to her question. But Jesus’ response is different than what Martha hoped for and expected

Jesus begins by saying, “Martha, Martha.” That would be like a mother calling her child by their first and middle names. Jesus goes on to describe Martha as worried and bothered about so many things. In other words, she was being pulled in many different directions. Yes, she was busy, but let’s be perfectly honest. Martha’s problem was not that she had too much to do. We are all busy. We often joke in the office and say, “When this busy time period is over.” But do you know what happens when that busy period is over? Another busy period begins. We need to quit using “busy” as an excuse.

Being busy is not the problem. The truth is that no matter how busy we are we will still make time for those things that are important to us. Martha’s problem was not that she was busy. Her problem was that she allowed her work and her “to do” list to distract her and pull her apart. As a result, even though she was the one who had invited Jesus into her home, her focus on all of the preparations resulted in her neglecting Him.

Does that describe you at Christmas? When will we learn? Martha didn’t. Fast forward to John 12, after her brother had been resurrected. Jesus is again a house guest? Where is Lazarus? He is sitting with Jesus. Where is Mary? She is so overcome with love for Jesus that she takes a full pound of a very expensive perfume and anoints Jesus feet with it. And where is Martha? Look no further than the kitchen. It seems that every time Jesus came over, Martha was more focused on the preparations than she was on Jesus. And so are we Christmas after Christmas after Christmas.

Jesus next focuses Martha with three statements. First he says that, “Only one thing is necessary.” And what is that one thing? It is spending time with Jesus. How true that is at Christmas time. There are so many wonderful aspects of the Holiday. There are the gifts, the trees, the decorations, the food, the family, and so many other things. But the truth is that there is only one thing necessary for you to really experience Christmas and that is spending time with Jesus.

That is why the Lord goes on to say that, “Mary has chosen the good part.” She was willing to take her focus off of the “to do” list and choose to sit and listen to Jesus. She chose the good thing in the celebration. Will you, like Mary, choose the good thing this Christmas? Tomorrow we will see the third thing Jesus tells Martha.

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