In this last week of my promotion of my book Women For All Seasons I leave you with a post on Mary and Martha, two well known women of the Bible.
I believe in every church there is a woman like Martha. You know, the one you can call on when something needs to get done? She is at every fundraiser, every outreach, every celebration assisting willingly. I believe Martha in the Bible was like that. Hardworking, dependable, hospitable. Her sister Mary, on the other hand, just loved to sit at Jesus' feet and drink from His wellspring of knowledge and wisdom.
On one occasion, the Bible tells us, Jesus came to Bethany where the sisters lived, and went to stay with them, as He always did. Mary took her usual position at Jesus' feet, while Martha busied herself in the kitchen getting everything ready. When she saw that Mary wasn't coming to help her, she went to Jesus and complained, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself ? Tell her to help me!" (Luke 10: 40)
I wonder why Martha didn't address her complaint to Mary herself. Could it be that she secretly blamed Jesus for taking up Mary's time so she couldn't help her? We have to be careful not to get carried away in our zeal to do things for Christ. When we do things for the Lord, we should do them out of our love for Him, not as a duty or as a means of getting praise from others. And we should experience joy and contentment from what we do. Mary was content where she was, at Jesus' feet, but Martha, even though she was hard working, wasn't really content.
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her"(v 41 - 42).
I believe Martha meant well, but her zeal prevented her from putting things in the proper perspective. Instead of performing her task joyfully, she grumbled and complained because she didn't have help. Like many of us who are very active in church, at work or in the community, we often complain when we don't have enough help. We may be overburdened, but did we ask for help? Or did we try to do everything ourselves, only to realize that we have taken on more than we can handle? There's nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. Don't wring your hands and say, "Lord, why me? Do I have to do everything around here?"
If you find yourself overwhelmed by your responsibilities, here are some things you can do:
1. Ask for help. As in the above paragraph, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Read what Moses' father-in-law told him (Exodus 18: 24).
2. Choose the right people. Having people around you who are not suited to the task can cause problems.
3. Learn to delegate responsibility. This will take some of the burden off you, while giving others the chance to show their talents and skills.
4. Be willing to train others. You won't be around forever. You must have someone to take up the mantle when the time comes.
5. Be content. 1 Timothy 6: 6 says, "But godliness with contentment is great gain."