Joseph A. Bias
Singleness of Purpose
“Now while they were on their way, it occurred that Jesus entered a certain village, and a woman named Martha received and welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me! But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion that which is to her advantage, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 AMP
So, here was Jesus and a bunch of His followers descending upon the home of Mary and Martha. While it must have been common for Jesus to visit them from time to time, it was probably not with a full entourage of people coming from His most recent time of ministry. We know there were at least 70 of them who had just returned from going out two by two to every Jewish town in the region, to preach about Jesus, to heal the sick and to cast out demons from them.
Martha knew that hospitality demanded that they be served and made to feel welcome in her home. Mary knew this too, but she was so caught up in what Jesus had to say that nothing else was on her mind. She was singularly focused and Jesus commended her for that.
Now, whenever you have heard this story preached you’ve probably heard it as a warning not to put the mundane necessities of life ahead of just spending time in Bible study or church attendance or doing “good works” and all of that is good. But is there more to what Jesus was saying to Martha here? Why did he not commend her for her desire to be a servant to all the people who had come into her home seeking respite? Why did He chide her for it instead?
You’ve probably heard this before, but it bears repeating. He did not chide her for her desire to serve. He chided her for stressing over it in the presence of the One who could provide far more than she ever could for everyone present. He gently chided her for her lack of faith in Him, after she must have known about how He had already fed more than 5000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, just one chapter earlier. [Luke 9:13-15]
No. It wasn’t Martha’s zeal for service that was being revealed it was her lack of trust in Jesus, even though she knew Him and knew about the things He did and had seen the manifestation of His power. To her He was at best, just another religious man like all other men and she had to be the “responsible adult pragmatist” in the house to take care of the details, otherwise it wasn’t going to get done. She proved this when she criticized Mary for not helping her bare the responsibility that she had imposed on herself.
And there is the point that pricks each of us at the heart of our motivation to do anything for the kingdom of God, when we turn our focus to judging others for not being as zealous or as committed or as passionate for the work of ministry as we are.
It just may be that this story is for us a reminder that we are to be no man’s judge. Nor are we to spin our wheels trying to cover all the basis that are left uncovered by someone else. Maybe our part is to choose to follow Jesus, period. No one else, no thing else, not even trying to fix everything that we recognize is wrong.
Without question we are to live the life of Christ. And that means we are to teach, preach and demonstrate His power with signs following us to the best of the ability He has given us. Having done that, we then spend our days just communing with Him and letting Him take care of us. This is our peace.
But, to fix the world or even our own family or friends is not our job. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we do not judge, because we are not judged. We forgive because we have been forgiven. We give because it is given unto us. We love because we are loved.
We do not steal, kill, defraud or deceive, because that is not in our nature as new creations in Christ Jesus. We do not serve God and mammon, nor do we split our identity with the world. We belong to Christ exclusively. He is our only identity. In Him we are not defined by race or gender, by clan or tribe, by slavery or freedom. We are all the same in Him. In Him we are all free. Whom the Son sets free is free indeed. We are in the world, but not of it. We are one with Christ now, because He has given His life a ransom for us.
There is nothing man can give me to repair my life, because all of that was done by the only One who could do it, Jesus Christ our Lord. In His life, death, burial and resurrection I am restored fully to life and that more abundantly. He is my Healer He is my Restorer. He is my Peace. In Him all walls of separation have been torn down. I owe no man nothing but to love him. And no may owes me anything that is lacking in the gift of life that I have received through Jesus Christ my Lord.
I need no further repair from men. My repair is complete in Jesus Christ my Lord.
Beloved, now we are the sons and daughters of God and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that at His appearing, when He comes again we shall know even as we are known, because we shall see Him as He is and we shall be like Him.
So, let love be the force that draws us to one another without fear or judgment, in the spirit of reconciliation and peace. Let us not exact or demand from one another what only God can provide. Let’s be more ready to give than to receive, more ready to listen than to demand our way. More ready to forgive than to hold on to the past. We remember and commemorate the past only to give God the glory for what he has done to deliver us from it and to bring us into the beauty of his glorious presence.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found
Was blind but now I see.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2
By this shall all men know that you are my disciples...
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.John 13:35