Sarah (Greene) Perkins ’06, ’08 M.Ed.
In today’s Gospel, we encounter Martha at perhaps her most famous moment of weakness. Based on Luke’s account, Martha is often characterized as the worrywart, the busybody, the one who harbors a touch of resentment against her sister and who complains to Jesus about her workload.
But elsewhere in the Gospels Martha is revealed in much better light. This friend of Jesus loves her sister Mary and her brother Lazarus, goes to Jesus to ask for healing and help, and proclaims her faith boldly: “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world” (John 11:27).
I feel a special affinity for Martha, Jesus’s faithful friend. Martha proves herself hardworking and hospitable but, like me, prone to preoccupation. Martha’s “busyness” had a noble beginning: her diligent efforts all stemmed from her desire to welcome Jesus into her home. But as her work piled up, generosity gave way to complaint and focus gave way to distraction. So Martha lost sight, for a moment, of her close relationship with Jesus.
How common is it for us to become “worried and distracted by many things” as we undertake our daily labors? How frequently do we feel possessive or prideful of our work, instead of focusing on God’s abundant gifts to us, and appreciating God at work through us?
Jesus teaches Martha to keep all of her good work, all of her activity, grounded in this reality: her relationship with Jesus is eternal and “will not be taken away.” So may we always have before our eyes not only the temporal but also the eternal end to our work: to glorify God, the giver of every good gift.
Loving God, may all of our efforts today begin and end in you. May we respond with true generosity to the call to make you known, loved, and served.