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Topic: Satisfied (10/11/04)
TITLE: "Wash Those Pots, Martha!"
By Robin Wisch
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Shortly, Peter heard several frustrating sighs and then some “angry mutterings." John quickly turned his head towards the kitchen. Then, Simon heard, "who does she think she is sitting in there while I do all the work. She knows that this has to be just right…she's just sitting in there..."
Suddenly, there was a loud crash as a large clay pot shattered onto the stone floor. Peter heard a muffled shriek and then…footsteps. He listened to the crunching sound of broken pottery underneath heavy feet. Martha was fast approaching. Simon had learned an important lesson during his marriage: avoid an angry woman in her kitchen! Sharp objects can become airborne quickly! Clearly, a confrontation was imminent. Jesus seemed unfazed by it all. Simon, a large man, did his best imitation of a wallflower. John searched for good hiding place, too.
Suddenly, around the corner swung one angry sister. Face flushed, her anger quickly bubbled onto the surface. "Lord, isn’t it unfair that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her help me," stormed Martha. Well, you could have heard a pin drop! Martha stood there waiting, impatiently. Momentarily, the Master looked at Martha. At this point, Peter did not envy the Lord at all. The prospect of playing peacemaker between these two siblings did not appeal to Peter one bit. Simon pressed himself deeper into the stone wall. Incredibly, the Lord made no attempt to appease the situation. The fight was one-sided as Mary never entered the fray fixing her eyes fixed on Jesus, instead. Jesus calmly replied, "My dear Martha, you are upset over many details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it and I won't take it from her." Discussion over!
Hastily, Martha returned to the kitchen and resumed washing pots and preparing the meal. Peter and John exhaled. The Lord continued His teaching.
We can learn a few lessons here. First, let us imagine the following: In the village where the sisters lived, Martha's cooking prowess was reputable. Both she and Mary had learned to cook traditional Jewish meals from their mother. Martha though, was a particularly skilled chef…and she knew it.
Martha’s concerns were outward, visible and noticeable. Though, she had no desire to denigrate her younger sister, she did wish that Mary was more like her. Martha thought it incredulous that Mary was unconcerned about the meal preparation. After all, this meal was for the Lord; it had to be right.
Martha also was a hard worker. She took pride in her detailed efforts. For all of us “Marthas’” out there, it is often difficult for us to slow down long enough to consider our ways. We are very busy with the affairs of church and life. Sometimes, we don’t understand why others don’t hold the same priorities. Oftentimes though, our true priority is recognition, as was Martha’s. Occasionally, this need for recognition squeezes out through a hole in our well-guarded personality. In that moment, resentment rises to the surface. We feel over-burdened, over-worked and alone. Suddenly, selfless giving vanishes. Humility, self sacrifice and selfless love: gone. We become severe and judgmental. Many people mistakenly equate service for the Lord or the church with knowing Christ and being spiritual. It is not necessarily either.
Notice also that Jesus did not say, "I know Martha, you are over-worked, slaving away in that kitchen for hours. Just wait a few more minutes and I'll send Mary in to help you."
Now Mary had discovered something special. Mary had discovered simplicity and abandonment. She simply kept her eyes focused on her Lord. Mary had no interest in anything
except her Lord. She had no desire to be seen or noticed. Meal preparations; they held no value. Nothing mattered to Mary but her first love; Jesus. Mary was in the spirit. Martha was in the flesh.
Sometimes, we have to make hard decisions. While we are overly-concerned with many things in this life, we simply cannot deeply know the Lord. Mary had discovered this. She had simplified her life. Her priority was “knowing Christ” and so she simply abandoned herself to her Lord. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness; for they shall be satisfied.” Matt. 5:6.