As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. - Luke 10:38-40
I think Martha gets a bad rap for this story. She is often promoted as the example of who not to be in this moment. But there is a special place in my heart for Martha, and I can relate to her struggles.
I love to host gatherings in my home, and we bought our house with the intention that it would be used for offsite meetings, dinner parties, and small group environments. But hosting takes work--- vacuuming and dusting, tidying up the rooms, cleaning the bathroom, setting out décor, preparing the meal, and doing the dishes. There is a lot to do, but it is so worth it for us to create a space for people to come and celebrate, laugh, and connect.
Martha welcomed Jesus (and others) into her home. She had a lot to get done to prepare for the big dinner that people would soon enjoy. I imagine she had a checklist a mile long and several trips to the store to get everything together. She considered every detail—the dynamics of the guests, dietary restrictions, and making sure there were enough seats--- I mean Jesus was coming to her house! There was plenty to do, but her hard work would be a blessing for others and an opportunity for people to meet with the Savior.
Martha wasn’t faulted for opening her home. Jesus wasn’t upset about the dinner menu. He didn’t reprimand her for cleaning the house or preparing a beautiful meal. Her failure was that her preparations were a distraction from the priority of being with people. She forgot that the people were there to see Jesus, not critique her meal.
As an assistant we need to pay attention to detail, strive for excellence, and make sure everything is ready. This is expected and valued. Whether assisting a pastor or CEO, part of our job is preparing for people— we handle the tasks that help to enable homeless to have a home, trafficked to find freedom, companies to grow, and people to encounter His presence. It is important to work hard.
Mary isn't highlighted in this story because she sat and did nothing. She is celebrated because her priority was the person, not the project.
Let’s work our tails off and get ready for people.
Whatever we do, let’s do it well—as unto the Lord.
And when the people arrive, let’s stop what we are doing, greet them with a smile, and give them our attention.
Philippians 2:12-13- Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. 13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Colossians 3:23- Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.