Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Visit at Martha's House, part 11: the divided heart

But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42 NASB)

To be rebuked by the Lord seems a terrible thing, but look how gently Jesus spoke to Martha. He could have told her to "sit down and listen up", but He did not. Instead, He gently rebuked her with love and kindness. Read what He told Martha aloud and you will find great tenderness in the words. Martha' rebuke should serve as encouragement for us to take any concern, any fear, to our Lord, confident that He will respond with tender kindness, even when a rebuke is in order.

The word translated here as "worried" is merimnaō. It is most often translated as "worried" but can also be used to indicate "anxious" or "concerned". It comes from a root word meaning "to divide" and that is a pretty good description of what happens when we worry. Instead of staying focused on Jesus, Martha had allowed her heart and mind to be divided by many cares. She was likely worried about the meal preparations, how to feed so many men, how to stretch her budget to cover the expense, where they would sleep. She may have even worried about what the enemies of Jesus would do to her for welcoming Him into her home. Martha was "divided" and, as a result, she was unhappy and fussy, not only with her sister, but even with God Himself. 

This business of a divided heart is one we would do well to avoid. Jesus made it very clear that we cannot serve two masters.

"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Matthew 6:24 NASB)

 He was speaking specifically about serving God and wealth, but it is equally true for anything that divides our heart for God. We cannot serve God wholeheartedly and also serve our own purposes at the same time. Martha found that to be true, and so must we. In contrast, when our heart is wholly devoted to our Lord, everything we do can become a service for Him. 

What about our own hearts? Are we worried and bothered about many things, or are we focusing all our heart on Jesus? Dear ones, only Jesus deserves the position of Master of our heart. He bought and paid for it with His own precious blood. What is it that divides your heart? What keeps you from serving Him with your whole heart? Let's give Him all the divided pieces of our heart and allow Him to replace those pieces with a unified, whole, focused heart, intent on loving and serving the One who loves us most.