by Emily Gibson
…Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:39-42)
When he addresses her, Jesus says her name twice. “Martha, Martha.” The repetition of a person’s name in Semitic language was a term of endearment. Jesus was pleading with her, not scolding her as if she were some sort of rebel. “Martha, Martha” is Jesus’ gesture of compassion and kindness to Martha, and also to us.
…before you try to change the world, you must first let me change you.
…before you make your mark on others, you must first let me make my mark on you.
…before you get busy to make things better, you must first let me make you better.
…before you can serve and feed me, you must first let me serve and feed you.
You see, Martha’s affliction is not that she is a busy-body. Her affliction is that she has a busy heart. She is distracted with much serving, and because of this, her very legitimate, life-giving diaconal service is spoiled. She is working from a chaotic center. She is seeking to create order from a cluttered core. She is so busied with and distracted by secondary things, that she has lost touch with the first thing—which is the love that brought her into friendship with Jesus in the first place.
~Pastor Scott Sauls from “Jesus and Performance Fatigue”
Oh, if I had been the innkeeper’s wife that night in Bethlehem when the umpteenth person knocked on our door wondering if there was room to let when we were full up,
I would have noticed how pregnant she was and how nervous he was and how tired they were and
I would have made up a bed for them right then and there out in the stable.
I would have brought out some warm bread and something to quench their thirst.
I would have swept the stone floor and moved the animals to another stall and
I would have checked in on them every now and then because it looked like her time was close in case she needed help.
I would have cooked up extra to bring out to them and I would have brought them some strips of cloth to wrap that baby in and
I would have fussed at all the grime and dust tracked in by the shepherds who came in droves to visit them.
In other words, I would have been there with the Lord right under my nose, even after making a spot for him to be born, and I still wouldn’t have made room for him.
Gave him space, gave him help, gave him food, gave him time, gave him a clean spot to rest — yet none of this is making room.
Give him my heart. That’s what he asks for, even in the midst of chaos and clutter.
He just wants me.
And that, that…
is hardest of all to give.