February 10, 2020
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. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
This week, we are focusing on relationships—specifically how God shows up when we make space in our relationships. Our story begins with Jesus and his disciples on a journey. They enter a village and meet two sisters. We’re really only given one piece of information about each sister, but there’s a multitude of insight in each simple statement. Remember, details about many individuals in the Bible are scarce. Often when we are given an insight, no matter how small, we can start by assuming that they are important to the deeper truth.
What do we know about Martha? We know that she opened her home to Jesus, and probably his entourage as well. What kind of a person opens their home to a group of homeless, unemployed, itinerant preachers? Let’s assume the best about Martha, and figure she must have had an incredible capacity for hospitality, organization, and getting things done. In addition, she was meeting a real need for Jesus and his disciples. They needed food, shelter, and a place to gather. Martha was willing to provide all of those things.
Leaving Martha for a moment, what do we know about Mary? She sat at the Lord’s feet and listened. If in Martha we see the gifts of hospitality and organization, in Mary we see the gift of presence. In the midst of all the craziness—cooking for a crowd, people coming and going, figuring out where everyone was going to sleep—Mary sits at Jesus’ feet and listens. If you have ever been on the receiving end of the gift of presence, you know how powerful it can be. For as long as the conversation lasts, you are the most important person in the room.
If you know the end of the story, you know that eventually Martha is rebuked and Mary is honored. But at this point in the narrative, the strengths of both women are seen as positive and commendable. Both women were eager to bring their strengths into the service of Jesus. What about you? If today is the start of your narrative, what strengths do you bring to the relationships around you? Most importantly, like Mary and Martha, are you using those strengths in the service of others? Are you using your relational gifts to serve Jesus?
Today, pray that God would open your eyes to the opportunities around you. Try to take one additional step towards using your gifts in the service of Christ and others.