I’m now blogging about chapter eight of my book.
“I identify myself with Martha because I’m always busy.” How often do we hear of that saying in our Bible studies? This is what I call Christian self-loathing, but is Martha really that bad?
On the other hand, many tout Mary. Oh, we should all be like Mary, using more time to do our devotion (i.e. listening to Jesus) and now be bothered with so many tasks. This passage is what I call a nightmare for ministers because as we all know, the cliché of 90% of the work being done by 10% of the masses is truer than not in many churches.
How do we deal with this passage? First, Luke 10.40 uses the word “preparations” which actually means “service” in the Greek. We must look at all the occurrences of this word in Luke’s writing. We’ll soon find that Luke has a very positive outlook towards service. So, Martha’s problem is not first and foremost her work. Those who say that serving too much is the problem miss Luke’s point. Second, what in fact is the role of Martha in her society? In general, the host directs the guests. We notice that Martha indeed was directing Jesus. If we look at the wider context of Luke 10, we have Jesus sending the 72 out for work and the Samaritan doing admirable work. Certainly, Jesus was directing people to do work. How are these themes related?
A clue for my readers … they are related.
As I always say, the texts are not at fault. The interpreter is!