Martha, Martha, Martha! Kicking Your Anxiety to the Curb

As I raced through the house trying to restore order I was barking out brief staccato commands to my children.  Suddenly my youngest stopped me and asked “Mom, are we having company tonight?”  God used her innocent question that day to unveil my heart and I realized that she had come to associate the idea of company with certain behaviors on my part – a frantic pace and anxious concerns.

I imagine that was how Martha felt the day Jesus came to her home in Bethany…

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.

If we had seen Martha that day we might not have known that anything was wrong.  She was doing the right thing as she opened her home to Jesus.  We would have approved of her deeds because they were proper. As you think back over the last few days, how many of your deeds have been proper and right?

She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations;

Despite her proper behavior, God’s Word shows us that her choices were wrong, for her distracted thoughts were driving her acts of ministry and service.  While many of us can relate to Martha at this point, God makes it clear through His choice of the word “distracted,” that she was responding wrongly.

{Distracted = to be driven about mentally, to be too busy.}

In the midst of doing right things, have you been distracted and driven this week?

…and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

As Martha’s emotions finally spilled over into words, we get a clear picture of the way she was feeling.   She desperately wanted someone to care, especially Jesus.  She felt alone, literally without a companion, forsaken, and destitute of help (that is the meaning of the Greek word used here for alone.) Immediately, we recognize that her feelings were not an accurate reflection of reality, for Jesus and Mary were right there. She so wanted someone to come alongside of her and share in the tasks, and yet they were just sitting there talking and listening, so unaware of her needs.

Have you felt alone this week?

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;

In one brief sentence, Jesus diagnosed her heart.  His choice of words is striking.  “You are worried and bothered . . .”

{Worried = anxious, troubled with cares, promoting your own interests.}

{Bothered = troubled, disquieted in your mind}

And suddenly, once He names it, we understand too.  For all of the many things that crowded Martha’s mind and drove her frantic activity, all those cares that disquieted her thinking, were the result of promoting her own interests.

but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”~ Luke 10:38-42

It is at this point that Jesus gave her a choice as He offered her His one necessary thing in exchange for her many self-promoting interests.  He pointed her back to Mary and we realize that the one necessary thing was time with Him, hearing His word.

This question is one Christ continues to ask of us through His Word.  Will you trade your many self-promoting interests for His one necessary thing?  Will you lay all of your anxieties down in exchange for His single priority?

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing

For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:25, 32-33

Ready to apply this truth? Download Cheryl’s worksheet on Anxiety.

Category: Emotions

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