Mary and Martha

Brothers and sisters,

At this week’s Super Saturday Adventure, we’re going to be talking with the children about the story of Mary and Martha. It’s a pretty simple story on its face. Jesus and his disciples make their way to a village where they are first welcomed by Martha. She brings the disciples into her home and there they meet Mary, who sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to him. Martha, however, was engaged with the many different tasks involved with hosting people in the ancient world — food, drink, overnight accommodations, etc. Frustrated, she came to Jesus and asked him to tell Mary to come and help her. But Jesus replied that Mary had chosen “the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

Based on that passage, Martha tends to get a bad rap. The more traditional interpretation tends to go something along the lines of, “Mary was right and Martha was wrong. Mary loved Jesus more than Martha. Mary was wiser than Martha, thus Martha needed to be corrected. Don’t be like Martha.” And that interpretation doesn’t sit well with me. Jesus and his disciples depended on people bringing them into their homes in order for them to offer their ministry to folks. And right there at the beginning of this passage, Luke says that Martha “welcomed him.” She believed in his ministry enough to be willing to open her home to him and provide for his disciples. And, yes, she does have her moment of frustration, but the tone of Jesus’ response implies something more along the lines of, “Martha, the things you’re doing are not wrong. But more than anything else, I want to be able to spend time with you.”

At this Saturday’s adventure, we’re going to teach the kids more about that second interpretation. We’re going to talk to them about the different ways that Mary and Martha showed their love for Jesus. And we’re going to remind them that each and every one of us has unique gifts and talents that have been given to us by God. Those talents help us reach out to others, help us care for other people, help us connect with God, and help us become better disciples.

So, if you have not signed up to help on Saturday morning, you can still come by and offer your gifts and talents to help care for these children. You can help teach them about the love God has for each of them. You can come and teach them that the folks at Hope Valley Baptist Church love and care about them too. Or, if you can’t come by, you can still pray for the kids, their parents, our volunteers, and this ministry in general.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben

P.S. Martha appears in John’s gospel as well and reminds us of her faith in Jesus. After Lazarus died, she met Jesus on his way into Bethany and they had a conversation about resurrection. In that conversation, Martha identified Jesus as “the Son of God.” The only other person to say that so plainly in John’s gospel was John the Baptist.