“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. -Luke 10:41-42
Wow, I am such a Martha. I don’t mean the kind of type A, get everything hyper-organized, not a speck of dust in sight kind of Martha. That seems to be where people normally go with this verse, but not me. I am not the worrier that stresses over everything being just perfect; I am normally happy enough to worry about just getting through the day.
As a single mother, I tend to worry about so many things. I worry about money. I worry about my aging house falling apart. I worry that my dog or cat will get sick and I won’t be able to pay for it. I worry that my car will break down. I worry that my son does not have a Christian man close in his life. I worry about my son’s grades, and where he will go to college, and the fact that money burns a hole in his pocket, and that he so easily gets swallowed up in those video games, and that he may watch things on TV I don’t want him to when I am not home, and that he doesn’t socialize enough, and that he does not spend enough time in the Bible and in prayer, and that he does not eat healthy enough….
OK, you get the idea. If you are a single parent, I am sure you worry about the same things. Actually, most parents worry about most of these things, but as single parents, the responsibility for all of these worries rests, exhaustingly, solely on our shoulders.
Or does it?
I can just see Martha, scurrying around like I do when I am about to have friends over and my house is still a mess. Martha would be running from task to task, kind of freaking out, kind of sweaty. Her hair is a mess, and she has YET to get in the shower, and she KNOWS how long it takes her hair to dry! She is trying to dust, but she sees that the cat apparently threw up on the carpet, so she deals with that…only to find that her son came down to her just cleaned kitchen and made a snack, leaving behind crumbs and a pink stain from the strawberry soda. So, in a fury, she just grabs the entire roll of paper towels and her economy sized bottle of Windex and takes off toward one of the messes. But then Jesus sort of grabs her arm as she is running by…not hard, just enough to make her stop. I just imagine that looking in His eyes brings an immediate sense of peace. And he tells her to just chill, she is worried all this stuff, but she shouldn’t. She only needs to worry about one thing.
I always feel kind of sorry for Martha here. She did all the work, and her sister, who apparently did nothing, is the one doing the “right thing”? Grrrrrr.
People usually take this verse as a story directly pointing at the fact that we should not worry about insignificant things. And I get that. But, I think it goes deeper. Jesus never seemed to only speak on the surface.
You see, all the worries listed above really are not insignificant….especially the worries about my son. They are valid and important. But Jesus was always speaking against worry.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Luke 10:25-27
Obviously, He is right. Our doctors warn of the health problems associated with stress. Jesus, our great Physician, already told us that. And He told Martha to stop worrying and being upset.
I look at the Martha verse and see a parallel. I worry about so many serious life issues, and I feel, sometimes, like I got the short end of the stick. I tried to be a good girl, for the most part. I grew up in a pretty tough household but stayed with the Lord. I may have gotten a little wild in my teen and college years, but I did not do HALF the things some girls did. Yet, those same girls (the ones that everyone knew were not being “nice” girls, or the ones that were not practicing Christians) are now happily married! They are stay-at-home moms with 3 kids and a really nice mini-van. They live in nice homes with good husbands and complain about how stressed they are when they have to drive their kids to their sports or dance classes after school.
Do I sound bitter? I can be…and I think Martha was. She tried to do everything right, but she ended up getting it wrong. I can just see her standing in the kitchen, Windex in one hand, a big wad of paper towels in the other…just standing there in confusion. She thought she was doing right, she was breaking her back trying to get it all done, herself. And now all she is, is worried and upset.
How many of us, as single parents, feel this way? We did everything right, but our husbands left. And here we are, worried to death about so much.
But Jesus said there is ONLY ONE THING we need to worry about – HIM. It comes down to trust. Trust Him to take care of you, Trust Him that He has a plan, even when it seems unfair to us.
Look what He says here:
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matt 6:28-33
Not only is He telling us not to worry, He is telling us that God will provide for us in abundance. In such a loving way, He tells us that God knows what we need. He tells us that God will not only take care of things for us, He will do it in abundance! He bothers to clothe the flowers so beautifully, and they just wither away. But us? Oh, He LOVES us….He is going to take good care of us. If we SEEK HIM FIRST.
Wow, just like that. Seek Him. He’s got all the rest of it.
Lord God, I worry so much…all the time, it seems. I want to be that person that seeks You first. I want the kind of trust in You that leaves me without any worry. I want to trust you and depend on You that way. Forgive me for all the times I take the worry on myself – thinking as if I can actually take care of everything. Please, Lord, please take care of all my messes, and all my worries, and all my fears. I need You. I am so thankful, Lord, that You say You will take care of everything. And Lord, I know this is kind of shallow, but that you for saying You will do it beautifully. You didn’t say in Your word that we should just be happy with crummy clothes and a run down shack. You said You clothes the flowers, which just wither away and die, in beauty. You go on to say that You, my Father, love me way more than that. Please help me to stop having so little faith. Please help me to focus solely on You…doing Your will…and leave all the rest of it – my house, the pets, my car, the bills, that water spot on my ceiling, my sweet son – help me to trust You to take care of it. You are my good and perfect Father. I know You will take care of me. Thank you so much, Lord. I can never than You enough. I love You….thank You for loving me.