Feeling Overwhelmed? Four Things to Learn from Martha
Earlier this year I started researching single women of the Bible. You can read more about why I started researching here.
This week I’m talking about Martha. I feel that I relate to her in so many ways! Martha also had a sister named Mary, who we will be discussing next month, so stay tuned for that post! I think I like Martha because she reminds me of me. She’s sassy, and unafraid to speak her mind. She’s also strong and capable, she likes things to go a certain way, and gets frustrated when things aren’t working out. So yah, I relate to her on several levels!
There are so many things that we can learn from Martha’s story and apply to our own lives as single women. The story of Martha and her sister Mary is in Luke chapter 10. Let’s walk through the story verse by verse and see what we can learn from Martha.
Luke 10:38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
1. The first thing I love about Martha is that she didn’t let her single status stop her from hosting. She opened her home to Jesus and her friends. I’m always a little hesitant to invite people over. I’m always afraid I won’t do it right. Since I don’t make dinner every night for a family or husband, I’m self conscious about my cooking, and since I’ve never been the beneficiary of a bridal shower, I always feel like I don’t have the right dishes to be serving a group of people.
Even writing that sounds ridiculous! Why do I let these little insecurities stop me? Mary didn’t let any of that slow her down! I also know there’s plenty of married women who aren’t 5 star cooks, and don’t have all the right serving dishes. Don’t wait until everything is perfect to open your home to others. Your friends will be thankful for the invitation and not expecting perfection!
Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
2. Martha was overwhelmed. All she could see in front of her was all of the things she had to accomplish. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. You’re almost paralyzed with the thought of all the things that you need to get done on any given day. Work, gym, grocery shopping, maybe some school work, house up keep, the list could go on. For me the most overwhelming part is that I have to do all of these things alone.
Martha was so flustered that she called out to Jesus! She was hoping that he would tell her sister that she needed to get into the kitchen and help with all of the preparations.
Luke 10:41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things…”
3. Jesus was kind and compassionate toward Martha. While she may have been being a bit of a drama queen, Jesus didn’t speak harshly to her, or treat her like she was “less than”, he spoke to her like a friend.
I think that this gives us an example of how we should relate to Jesus. He wants to be near to us, to be a friend. I talk to my closest friends almost daily. We’re constantly in some form of contact. It’s easy to think that Jesus seems like some sort of a far off concept that we can’t really get to know, of feel close to, but have you considered how much time you devote to getting to know him? If your relationship with Jesus was real life friendship, would you even still be close friends, or would you be more like old high school friends that check in on each other once a year via Facebook so that you can say “Happy Birthday”? If you daily devote time to talking to Jesus and getting to know him better, I promise you, you will notice a change in your attitude. You will feel closer to Jesus, more able to talk to him, more able to treat others like he wants you to treat them.
Luke 10:42 …But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
4. The story of Martha also reminds me of the constant struggle between choosing the good things and the best things. Choosing between good and bad is typically pretty cut and dry. Granted there are occasional situations where things seem a bit gray, but for the most part it’s easy to tell good things and bad things apart.
For example, it’s easy to see that we should go to work and do the best job we can. We shouldn’t be staying out so late partying that we’re constantly late, or can’t do a good job when we’re at work. That wouldn’t honor God. However, things get a bit muddier when we’re in the middle of a big project and our boss asks us to come in on a Sunday. You know you need to do the best job you can at work, but should you skip church for work?
Choosing between good and best becomes a major struggle when deciding how to spend our time. In this story, I’m tempted to side with Martha. Stuff’s got to get done! Dinner wasn’t going to make itself and Martha needed help!
However, what Martha didn’t realize, was that Jesus was only going to be with them for a limited amount of time. She and her sister would not always have easy access to him and his teachings.
I don’t think Jesus was mad at Martha for being in the kitchen. He didn’t tell her to abandon her work; he simply told her that Mary had chosen what was better. I think that this was Jesus’ way of telling her that the meal prepping could wait, that it wouldn’t be wrong for her to take a break and come and sit with him.
I’m not saying you should blow off work every day so that you can stay home and have more time to read scripture, but I do think Jesus is trying to tell us something important. He’s trying to tell us that if we make time for him, the rest will work itself out. If we keep the most important things first in our lives, the rest gets a little simpler, a little clearer.
I hope this look at Martha has helped to encourage you! God loves single women! He counted them as friends in a society that did not value women in general, let alone single women!
Don’t let life or all your responsibilities overwhelm you and make you ignore your savior. Reach out to Jesus when you are feeling overwhelmed and lost, he will be there for you!