When Rebecca gave me the topic for January, I immediately thought of two women in the bible and a very familiar story of relentlessness, Mary and Martha and their visit with Jesus.
Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord does thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42)
There are stark differences in Mary and Martha's relentlessness that day. Mary was in pursuit of one thing…Jesus! "She sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word". Wow! I can't even imagine that day. Having Jesus in my home speaking to me, wanting me to sit at His feet and listen to Him speak in the flesh to me would be awesome. I wonder what He shared that day. I know it was important because it was Jesus speaking. In Matthew 6:33 the bible says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all things shall be added unto you.” The Word instructs us to do exactly what Mary was doing that day - seeking first what Jesus had to say. I am sure she also thought, “I may not get another chance like this.” She had her eyes on Him.
And then there was Martha's relentlessness (often wonder why her name was Martha, Stewart maybe?). I can relate to Martha that day, can’t you? She’s burdened by all she had to do, ensuring everything was just right for her Guest. It doesn't say what she was doing but I can just imagine. It also seemed she wanted Jesus to know that she was the one doing all of the work. I think we can all nod and agree that sometimes we get caught in the relentless pursuit of recognition. I might have even been the one who asked Jesus, “Do you not care that she isn’t doing anything to help me?”
Yikes! But really, that’s me being honest.
Lysa Terkeurst puts it well…
“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.”
Jesus had such a sweet response to Martha in verses 41 and 42 when He tells her He knows she is working hard but then lets her know that Mary is doing what she needs to be doing. My feelings may have been a little hurt at that point, thinking about all I had done to make the visit special.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you. (I Peter 5:6)
What can we learn from Mary and Martha? I think we can learn that our tasks, bullet-points and appointments here on earth we deem so important and we want to be recognized for are not what Jesus intends for us to relentlessly pursue. Are we still and humble enough to make Jesus a priority or are we too busy doing the tasks we think are important to us, or earthly things?
Both women were relentless that day. Who would you rather have been, Mary or Martha? I would like to make a conscious effort to be more like Mary and keep my eyes relentlessly fixed on Jesus where He has called me stay, right at His feet.