Friday, December 11, 2020

2020.12.11 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 10:38–42

Read Luke 10:38–42

Questions from the Scripture text: What did they enter in Luke 10:38? Who did what to Jesus there? What did she have (Luke 10:39)? What did this sister do? But how was Martha distracted (Luke 10:40)? Whom did she approach? What did she ask? What did she want Him to do? What did Jesus say about her (Luke 10:41)? How many things did Jesus say were needed (Luke 10:42)? Whom did Jesus say had chosen it? What did He call it? What did He say would not be done? 

It is obviously not a bad thing to serve Christ. We have just read in the last chapter that the Samaritans did not receive the Lord Jesus because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:53). These were days in which it was becoming dangerous to associate with Christ, and we might infer that the closer He came to Jerusalem, the greater the danger. 

Against this backdrop, it is no small thing that Martha “welcomed Him into her house” (Luke 10:38).  Mary was there too, and perhaps Lazarus, but she is specifically mentioned for welcoming Him. Many flatter themselves that they are all about a relationship with the Lord, but can neither claim to Martha’s serving Him, or even the attentiveness to His Word. Before we come to learn from Mary, let us first ask whether in days and ways that others are afraid to serve the Lord Jesus, we are more eager to serve Him than to be spared pain or dishonor.

But when we are convinced that we should serve Him, and have set ourselves to the work, there are dangers in it. The implication here is not that Mary did not serve at all. But, there came a time, when Jesus began to teach. The most important service that we render to our Lord is that worship we offer by sitting at His feet and hearing His Word. We mustn’t think that Christian service is a good reason to absent ourselves from preaching or to be lax in personal or family Bible reading and meditation.

For, it was not with “serving” that Martha was distracted, but rather with “much serving.” How easy it is to go from being bold to serve Christ to being distracted from Christ Himself by that very service! And it wasn’t just the “muchness” of the service that distracted. The disproportion expressed itself in her “worrying” and being “troubled” (literally in a turbulent or chaotic, Luke 10:41). 

True Christian service proceeds from faith, and when our focus on serving comes out of proportion, the opposite of faith happens. Surely, Martha was concerned that the house was disorderly, but the second word that Jesus uses there focuses upon how it was her heart that was disorderly.

When we find worry and chaos arising in our hearts in the midst of service, let us return to the root of faith and rebuild our serving from there. The Lord Himself has set His Word before us on such a continual basis that we will often discover the chaos of our hearts if we only attend well upon that Word.

And may the Lord discover our chaotic hearts to us quickly, before we not only fail to attend well upon Him but even well-meaningly seek the harm of our brother or sister. The Lord Jesus doesn’t tell us that Mary was better than her sister. In fact, the needfulness of her listening points to the fact that she was not yet what she ought to be. She needed to hear Jesus’s words! 

And what Jesus is telling Martha is that if He fulfilled her wish, there would be two sisters who were not having their spiritual needs addressed, instead of just the one. What Martha was asking was basically that the good thing would be taken from Martha. When we see how desperately we need Jesus, we would do well to remember that our brothers and sisters desperately need Him too, and focus our thoughts about them upon how to help them look to Him first for all their needs, so that their service, too, may spring from faith.

About what service unto Christ do you sometimes find yourself worried or troubled? About whose worship-attendance and sermon-hearing are you concerned? What might you do to enable them to attend better?

Suggested songs: ARP119E “That I May Keep Your Statutes, Lord” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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