Friday 14 August 2015

Bible Book:

“But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’” (vv. 40-42)

Luke 10:38-42 Friday 14 August 2015

Psalm: Psalm 68:24-35



Poor Martha, she was only trying to be a good host. Jesus was atravelling preacher, dependent on others for food and safety. Heshould have been grateful for a warm welcome, and the chance therest and experience his host's domestic skills. But rather thanbeing grateful, Jesus take the side of Martha's sister, Mary, whohas rather scandalously assumed the male role of someone who sitsat the teacher's feet (verse 39).

In trying to do the 'right thing', Martha had forgotten thathospitality is not about a domestic performance, but instead afocus on the guest. And this was a guest who wanted to give, toshare his message of life and love.

Martha was caught up in her desire to do and to give. How oftenis it easier to give than to receive? The temptation is to focus onwhat we want to put into a situation, what we can contribute, andwhat we think is the right thing, without being aware of what theother person wants or desires.

The 2011 report to the Methodist Conference, Of equal value: poverty in the UK, showed howpeople experiencing poverty described what it was like: "poverty isbeing given endless bowls of soup and cups of tea when what youwant is a proper meal ... poverty means having no choice." Peoplewho receive help or charity are expected to be grateful. But whatif they want something else - a choice, to be listened to,justice...?

If we are to offer true hospitality, Jesus' example in thispassage suggests it is not about being the most generous host, orputting on the best domestic performance. Instead it is aboutfocusing on the other person, offering what they want. And ofcourse this might mean that they end up giving, and wereceiving.

To Ponder

  • Have you had a situation where you expected to give, butinstead have received? What happened?
  • What is it like to receive true hospitality?
  • To what extent do we try to 'do to' Jesus, instead of receivinghim?
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