Martha Gets a Bad Rap

The Mission Home Base at Bethany
Jesus was friends with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha of Bethany. He and the disciples often used their home as a type of Mission base. It seems He felt comfortable there. “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. (John 11:5 NAS)

With understanding comes acceptance
One of the reasons why we experience stress with some people and not with others is because we are all created in the image of God, but, we all have different personality types and different spiritual gifts. And we subconsciously expect people to see things from the same perspective. Even Martha, Mary and Lazarus AND all the disciples. Let’s look at this little family when Jesus and friends stop by unexpectedly.

What happened?
“Now as they were traveling along, He {Jesus} entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary who moreover was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet.” (Luke 10:38-39 NAS) Whenever Jesus was in town, this is where you would find Mary…sitting at Jesus’ feet.) But what about Martha? Where will you find her?

  1. Martha was at the door welcoming Jesus and friends. She is a doer. She practices protocol. She wants to do what is right! SOMEONE has to open the door when they knock, and of course it is Martha. She showed them to the “parlor”. And they all got comfortable…even Mary.
  2. But not Martha. SHE gets BUSY. “Martha was distracted with all the preparations.” SOMEONE has to prepare the meal. And it has to be done RIGHT.
  3. Martha was angry that her sister was not helping her. After all, there was a room full of men to feed and clean up after! She expects Jesus to see it her way. 😉
  4. “…she came up to Him (Jesus) and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

Martha is often vilified
She is often portrayed as an angry, bossy, tattle-tale because her sister wouldn’t help her in the kitchen. But what if we do a bit of a character study on Martha. We don’t understand our “sisters & brothers” until we walk in their shoes. It helps me when I try to see things from another view point. So, what IS actually GOOD about Martha?

What traits does Missionary Martha have?

  • Very detailed
  • Would have responded better if she had known in advance
  • Not knowing or surprises can cause worry
  • Does things in a certain way and can be inflexible
  • Sometimes finds it difficult to show love
  • Wants to make sure the tasks are done just right, so she does not do them quickly
  • She will complete the task and always do what is expected of her, no matter what
  • She asks questions so she understands the whole picture, which can appear “fussy” (she is trying to minimize risk or failure)
  • Loss of quality is her biggest fear. Fear of Failure can cause the “attitude”

Leading From Your Strengths Personality Assessment
The bulleted list above shows us traits TYPICAL for a BEAVER personality type. (Or a high “C” in other assessments.) So Martha was being what God had created her to be. She could be irritating, but also, she was efficient and focused. She wanted everything to be done well. But she appeared to be mean and selfish. Jesus of course knew all that. He was not irritated at her. He “got” her. And yet, He also reminded her to TAKE THE TIME to spend with Him as well.

A Bible Study
I remember a Bible study about this story. I had complained that Martha got a bad rap because she was stressed with so many mouths to feed. The pastor looked me straight in the eyes and with great restraint, said, “It was JESUS!” I laughed right out loud. I knew what he meant. This is different because Jesus could instantly CREATE a meal for all of them. Martha did not have to be busy and distracted about the preparations. Jesus needed to remind her of that!

Pieces in the puzzle
I put the focus on Martha because it illustrates an important point. She is often vilified and rejected. And criticized. Yet she has great value and worth. When we learn our own strengths and each other’s strengths, we stop trying to change each other. Rather we appreciate each other’s personality strengths and spiritual gifts are ALL for the benefit of ministering to others and for the GLORY of GOD. We are each only a small piece of the puzzle. And only God sees the bigger completed picture of the puzzle.

Observe. Understand. Accept.
We can understand and learn to love each other better. And help to bring out the best in one another. This is not a competition. It is LIFE. CHRISTIAN life!

Yet, too often, we don’t realize that “Of COURSE that person is acting that way! That is the way they were created.” Now, that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse to not be a team player. Each with our differences are only a PIECE of the puzzle and the puzzle is not complete without ALL the personality types working together for the common purpose of being the best team we can be for the Glory of God. We can’t all be corner puzzle pieces or the outer edge pieces. Each piece is necessary and important and SPECIAL.

Personality conflicts
I wrote in last week’s post: “The unforeseen silent killer of the mission vision, and the reason many missionaries leave the mission field much earlier than they had originally planned is because of the personality differences of the fellow missionaries.” Misunderstandings. Expectations. A lack of appreciation for differences. You can read my article here: The Silent Killer on the Mission Field

Understanding and embracing this can absolutely change your life and your ministry. You will look at people through a different “lens”. It is freeing. Embracing our own strengths rather than trying to fix our weaknesses and enjoying others’ strengths rather than trying to change them. We can change the world…one person at a time!

Become all you were meant to be in Christ. I can help with that! Click the red button to set up a FREE inquiry call.

Until next time,

God bless you bunches!Button-Contact-Pam
Awaiting His shout,

The MomCourager™

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