Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Friendship – Day 19

Mary and Martha – resentment can hinder friendship

Bible text(s)

Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

38As Jesus and his disciples went on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him in her home. 39She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the feet of the Lord and listened to his teaching. 40Martha was upset over all the work she had to do, so she came and said, “Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!”

Luke 10:38-40GNBOpen in Bible reader

The story of Mary and Martha is a familiar one – the two women who responded differently to Jesus. Both sisters were friends of Jesus. He came to their home. They shared meals together. They talked together.

On this particular day though, Martha lost it. We are told it was her home, so it is likely that she was the elder sister. She shouldered the responsibility of making sure everything was arranged and she would have been shamed in her community if the hospitality were not up to scratch. Luke tells us that she was distracted, so we get the feeling she would far rather be listening to Jesus, but someone had to make sure everyone ate! Besides, her reputation was at stake. I can imagine Martha growing more and more resentful as she stood over a steaming pot. Eventually, she snapped. It is worth noting how she words her complaint: “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work alone? Tell her to help me.”

Instead of seeking to please Jesus in the service of others, it is easy to slip into pleasing ourselves, looking for praise and acknowledgment. If we do not get it, it is not long before God himself becomes the target for our resentment. We begin to question whether he really does care and why he has not acted to help us out in the way that we want. Moreover, that hinders our friendships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, and with Jesus.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.16
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