Martha Served

Martha Served

09 August 2011

Reading: Jeremiah 5-6; John 12


1 Six days before the Passover celebration 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 was among those who ate 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, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance. (John 12:1-3 NLT)

This is it! 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. Then he would once again go to the Temple and drive out the money changers and sacrifice sellers. And in a week he would be crucified and buried.

But this is now and a festive dinner was being given in Jesus’ honor, 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 come on, somebody had to prepare the meal! You can’t just order in pizza when Jesus comes to your house!

So on this unforgettable occasion, Martha served, Lazarus sat at the table with Jesus, and Mary worshipped. Martha served because that’s who she was and that’s what God had created her and gifted her to do. Besides, maybe everyone was glad that Martha served because Mary wasn’t that good in the kitchen!

God has created each of us with passions, gifts, and skills. What if we create an environment in which each uniquely gifted Christ-follower can simply be who God made her or him to be? It might work. If we can avoid the damaging attitude and behavior of trying to make everyone do the things we are good at and passionate about, the Body of Christ might function pretty well. Martha served.


Father, Please help us to be more aware of the many ways in which the members of Christ’s Body function as we gather for worship this weekend. I’m going to watch for Martha, Lazarus, and Mary. I bet they’ll all be there. Please bless us all. Amen.

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