When you look closely at this verse, what Martha said to Jesus is really shocking. It appears, from the way she addressed Him as Lord, that she had an understanding of Jesus as Master. He was not just a poor, wandering preacher. He was not just a family friend. He was Lord and He was in charge. It seems as if Martha had a basic understanding of this, but Martha had a problem that most of us have as well. Martha thought that she was also in charge. She approached Jesus as if they were on equal terms.
Jesus did not tell Martha what preparations needed to be done. Martha decided that for herself. She then attempted to perform all the work she had decided was necessary, but it was too much for her. There is no indication that Martha spent even a moment saying, "Is all this necessary? Is this what Jesus wants me to do?" Martha had made her decision and she was sticking with it. (Does this sound familiar at all? Isn't this something that we do, as well?)
To make matters worse, Martha decided that her agenda should also include Mary. In essence, Martha's plan for Mary became more important than Jesus' plan for Mary, at least in Martha's mind. I would expect that Martha had signaled Mary more than once, trying to get her to get up and help! Mary, however, kept her seat at the feet of Jesus.
What is astounding to me is that Martha marched right up to Jesus and demanded He reassign Mary to The Martha-Work-Crew! Don't forget that Jesus was not just a man. He was Almighty God wrapped in flesh, sitting in her home, and Martha was trying to boss Him around like she was His equal.
Selah. Pause and consider.
I'm not going to pretend that I've never done this, but I hope I have better sense now. What about you? Do your prayers sometimes have a "Martha-esque" tone about them? Do we find ourselves demanding that God do whatever it is we want and hop to it?
We would do well to remember that there is a God and we are not it. His Word tells us that He has a plan, for good and not for evil. It makes sense to desire that good plan, but all too often we want our own plan, instead. Even worse, we demand that God give us what we want.
When she first became overwhelmed with preparations, Martha would have had a much better day if she had stopped to ask herself, "Is this what I need to be doing? Is this what Jesus wants me to do?" We, too, could benefit from using our frustration with life as an opportunity to consider that maybe what we want is not what God wants. Shocking idea, isn't it? It is also a very freeing concept.
If you're frustrated and overwhelmed with life, it is time for some serious soul-searching. Is the work you are trying to do, the lifestyle you are pursuing, that for which you long, really what God desires for you or have you made your own plan, expecting God to bless it? It may be that your plan needs to be relinquished for the one God has for you.
What, then, should you do? Do what Mary did. Begin by positioning yourself at the feet of Jesus. Listen to His words. Seek His face. Ask for His plan, then do what He says.
Hear, and heed, the words of Jesus:
"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB)