As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
At the beginning of Luke 10 Jesus lays out a pattern of missions: go from house to house until you encounter a “Man of Peace” which you will discern, in part, because they receive your blessing. Listen, eat, perform signs and wonders, and talk about the kingdom. (The acrostic BLEST helps me remember all five crucial aspects of this pattern.) This is great missions stuff, but what did a “man of peace” look like to Jesus? The short answer is… a woman. Martha.
The scene is that Jesus and his disciples are “on their way” which is usually the way it is with Jesus. Many people stay at home waiting for Jesus to talk to them about ‘getting on their way’ but he already did this. Some of your best conversations will happen with Jesus while you are on your way somewhere with him. They come to a village and Jesus, without apparently saying anything about it, implements his own teaching. He finds a person of peace, in this case, a woman who seems to be the head of a household. (OK, it is not a mom, dad and two kids household, but it is at least a three-sibling hangout for singles.)
Before we tear her apart for being a Type A workaholic, let’s look at the positive things about Martha. First, the Scripture says, “a woman named Martha opened her home to him.” Have you, today, actually opened your home to Jesus? Or is it your private preserve where your art hangs your way and your iPod (or gramophone for the older folks) plays your music at the volume you like it? Why open your home to Jesus? Because amazing things will happen when you do! This little house became the stage for zesty friendship, confrontations with religious know-it-alls, and radical miracles. Brother Lazarus died and rose again (probably as a good piece of pre-sales marketing for a crowd who would see, a week or so later, the Savior of the world similarly rise from the dead). This became a happening little house!
Jesus easily breaks from cultural norms in this house. The rabbis at that time held the view that it was a waste of time to teach a woman. Jesus modeled the opposite: “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet.” This was no pedicure—this was teaching time!
In a home he can see true priorities. The religious face is off, the cooking gloves are on, Martha the catering machine is in motion, there is huffing and puffing in the kitchen… This is not the Martha serenely wafting through the portals of the temple. This is the real Martha. And Martha is getting a little ticked-off at the lack of help. She is even getting mad at God. “Lord, don’t you care…?”
In a home he can go beyond teaching—he can disciple. “Martha, Martha” Don’t you wish you could have heard that gentle phrase. She was about to get a fresh-baked life lesson right in her kitchen.
How have you been viewing your home, your household, your business? Have you been welcoming Jesus? Has he been the talk of the office, has a discussion of the kingdom been the daily fare, and have you asked him to make it a BELTS (blessing, eating, listening, talking, and “signs and wonders”) place where you can “make disciples”? I urge you to hand over the front door keys, turn over the doormat so the Welcome side is up, flip on the kettle, and make Jesus and his friends welcome. This week, go ahead, be a Martha—be a Woman of Peace. Next week you can be a Mary.