Worship Begins with Listening
Martha, the older sister of Mary and Lazarus, worried about details. She wished to please, to serve, to do the right thing—but she often succeeded in making everyone around her uncomfortable. Perhaps as the oldest she feared shame if her home did not measure up to expectations. She tried to do everything she could to make sure that wouldn’t happen. As a result, she found it hard to relax and enjoy her guests and even harder to accept Mary’s lack of cooperation in all the preparations. Martha’s frustration was so intense that she finally asked Jesus to settle the matter. He gently corrected her attitude and showed her that her priorities, though good, were not the best.
Later, following her brother Lazarus’s death, Martha could hardly help being herself. When she heard Jesus was finally coming, she rushed out to meet him and expressed her inner conflict of disappointment and hope. Jesus pointed out that her hope was too limited. He was not only Lord beyond death, he was Lord over death—the resurrection and the life! Her awareness of details sometimes kept her from seeing the whole picture, but Jesus was consistently patient with her.
In our last picture of Martha, she is once again serving a meal to Jesus and his disciples. She has not stopped serving. But the Bible records her silence this time. She has begun to learn what her younger sister already knew—that worship begins with silence and listening.
Taken from the Life Application Study Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 2007 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.