<<Jewish woman from Bethany>>

She was the older sister of Mary who, with Lazarus, welcomed Jesus into their home on several occasions.  Martha was concerned with action – preparing for, greeting, and serving Him.

Her story is told in Luke 10:38-42; John 11:17-45, 12:2.

Lessons from her life: * Action people can get frustrated when they see what needs to be done and others are not helping (Lk 10:40).  They can be so busy serving God that they haven’t time to know Him more intimately, and receive instruction from Him.  There needs to be a right balance between ‘doing’ as symbolised by Martha and ‘being’ – receiving spiritual input, as portrayed by Mary sitting at Jesus feet.  What we receive from God will provide the direction and impetus for fruitful, effective service to others.  Jesus wants relationship with us, not just results from us. Am I too busy to spend time with Jesus? If so, we may lose sight of the main reason for our actions with service becoming a drudge, wearing us down. Jesus did not tell her to stop what she was doing, but rather get her priorities right.

* Martha expressed her disappointment that Jesus had not been present to prevent Lazarus from dying, however she also had hope that “God will give you whatever you ask” (Jn 11:21,22). Be honest in your relationship with God, not letting the circumstances or events of the past overshadow your confidence of what He can do for you now and the future. His plans are for our good (Jer 29:11-14).

* Many people try to impress others by saying how busy they are in life – even in God’s work. While we are to be occupied in employment and service for Him – why not just let the results speak. Jesus had harsh words for those who put on an outward show, indicating what they were doing in the name of religion, when their motives were not right (Mt 6:1-6,16-19). Recognition of our good works should be directed to the Lord not us! (Mt 5:16). Do I want God’s lasting recommendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant” or the shallow fleeting acknowledgement of man? (Mt 25:21). For the servant-hearted folk who are fulfilled by ‘doing’, ensure you spend time hearing from the Master.

See also: balance, being and doing, busy, Lazarus, Mary (Martha's sister), priority, self-pity, servant/serving.