Martha Served

Martha Served

22 December 2009


1 Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2 A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance. (John 12:1-3 NLT)

Six days before Passover. The next morning, Jesus would ride a donkey into Jerusalem to the cheering of huge crowds lining the road and streets, ready to make him King of Israel. In a week he would be crucified and buried. But this is now and Martha served.

In Luke 10 there’s a story about Martha complaining to Jesus that her sister Mary wasn’t helping with the preparation of the meal to feed Jesus and his disciples and half the town and Jesus said, “Martha, don’t be under so much pressure about dinner. And don’t try to take away Mary’s desire to grow spiritually.” (Martha often gets a bad rap for this, but you can’t just order in pizza when Jesus comes to your house!)

So on this unforgettable occasion, Martha served, Lazarus sat, and Mary worshipped. Martha served because that’s who she was and that’s what God had created her and gifted her to do. Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus because they were friends and friends sit and eat together. Mary worshipped extravagantly and her act of sacrificial worship was recorded for all time.

God has created each of us with gifts, skills, and passions. Maybe everyone was glad that Martha served because Mary wasn’t that good in the kitchen! What if we encourage and allow each uniquely gifted Christ-follower to simply be who God made her or him to be? It might work. If we can avoid the damaging behavior of Gift-Projection, where we try to make everyone do the things we are good at and passionate about, the Body of Christ might function pretty well. Martha served.


Father, Help me to develop a deep appreciation for the uniqueness and difference of each of my fellow Christ-followers. When I’m with the family I’m going to watch for Martha, Lazarus, and Mary. I bet they’ll all be there. Please bless us all. Please help us to appreciate each other more. Amen.

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