Martha’s flaw in this story isn’t her attention to detail. Actually, her attention to detail is admirable. Who doesn’t want a clean house when you’re entertaining?
However, Martha’s words reveal what’s going on in her heart, and that’s the problem.
“Don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself?”
MY sister has left ME to prepare the table all by MYSELF.
Martha’s host-work wasn’t about doing something nice for a guest. It was about herself. She wanted recognition and appreciation for what she was doing. When the attention was upon Jesus and not upon “My, what a lovely dinner you’ve prepared,” she took it personally. Her asking Jesus, “Tell her to help ME,” is Martha’s ego intruding upon a holy scene. It’s the toddler shouting, “Not fair!”
Martha pays the price for this self-obsession. She’s overly sensitive. She’s keeping score. She’s worrying over trivial things. She can’t relax.
The degree of love we give another person is in direct proportion to how we dissolve our egos in giving it. The purest form of love focuses on the receiver and not the giver. It’s keeping the emphasis upon the other person. It’s knowing their needs. It’s listening and asking questions. It’s sacrificing. It’s the undivided attention that Mary gives Jesus.
Loving like this is difficult because we like the affirmation of, “I hope they see what a nice person I am.” That’s why it would be helpful, occasionally, to do something kind and thoughtful for another person and that person will never guess it was you who did it.
In other words, what anonymous act of kindness can you do for someone? (Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments section below.)
It’s never wrong to have good attention to detail, as Martha had. We just have to remember that it’s about the guest and not the host.
8 thoughts on “MONDAY MEDITATION: Loving Anonymously (September 2, 2019)”
Following your meditations for a fresh perspective is becoming a new habit. I am thankful that you have time to write for your audience and have a way to continue teaching me about the words and lessons in the Holy Bible. I will continue to ponder and apply what you teach to the choices I make. Thank you!
If you know a needy widow at your church, ask your pastor to pass along your anonymous cash donation to her.
I look forward to your postings and appreciate them very much. Richard
Good post. I agree that this is difficult at times to do. I think we all want to be special in people’s eyes and no we’ve done something for them that has made them happy. I realize the ego walks hand-in-hand with expectation. It’s always good for me to keep my motives and check. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for your insight into this scripture. I always identified with Martha thinking “poor me”, that would be me in the kitchen preparing for everyone. Instead I should feel what I am doing for everyone is a giving action and by that I would be an extension of Jesus.
Thanks for the post, it teaches us to be mindful of our guests.
Thanks for the post..