Home Improvements (Part 2)
Today we continue our theme of Jesus transforming lives within our homes.
Another person in the Bible I have a soft spot for is Martha. You might know the story (Luke 10:38-42) where Jesus comes to visit Mary and Martha’s house, and Mary sits at His feet and listens to His teaching, but Martha is distracted by all that needs to be done in order to be a good host for her guest, and asks Jesus to get Mary to help her. Jesus responds “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
Now as Tom Wright notes in his commentary there is more going on here than simply a woman annoyed that her sister isn’t helping out! In Biblical times it would have been unheard of for a woman to sit and listen to the teachings of a man, this simply wasn’t their role or their place. Women would stay in the kitchen or unseen parts of the house, and men would meet in the public parts of the house. But Jesus is clearly affirming Mary in her choice to cross that boundary. She dared to put her love for Jesus first.
Mary and Martha’s house, in that moment, was transformed into a place of inclusion, affirmation, and acknowledgement. It was transformed into a place where Jesus was higher than all other priorities or distractions, whether practical or culturally/socially imposed.
I wonder whether there are times when we desperately need to know that affirmation that no matter who we are, Jesus welcomes us to sit at His feet? I wonder whether there are ways that we let practical or culturally imposed distractions get in the way of us listening to Jesus? I wonder what would happen if we allowed Jesus to turn our homes upside down as Mary did?
This week we have seen how Jesus wonderfully changed Zaccheaus, and Mary and Martha when they invited Him into their homes. There are far more dramatic events in the New Testament too, indeed Jairus’ daughter was raised from the dead when Jesus came to visit, and at Pentecost the house the disciples were hiding in was filled the God’s Holy Spirit! So, let’s dare to invite Jesus into ours homes and let’s dare to expect Him to change us!
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)