Whenever I've studied the story of Mary and Martha before, I've usually gotten two lessons out of it.
1)Have your priorities right
The eternal is more important than the physical.
2) Don't be so busy serving Jesus that you have no time to spend with Him
But this time I've learned new things about Martha and realized that I can relate to Martha very well! These lessons especially apply in our homes, since our husband and children are the ones who are the closest to us.
(But before I begin, Martha wasn't all bad! She loved Jesus. She had faith in Him. She welcomed him into her home--she was very hospitable. I have much to learn from her there.)
3)Martha questioned whether Jesus cared
"Dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?" She should have known that He did.
I'm sure there are times when I've started to have those doubts. Does God really care?
"Casting all your cares upon him for he cares for you."
4) Martha became very stressed unnecessarily
Martha didn't need to be that busy. She had too much on her 'to do' list. Sometimes I get very stressed simply because I am trying to do too much or I want things perfect. My priorities aren't quite right. When I start getting super stressed, I need to stop, refocus, simplify and prioritize. I remember one time trying to get to an appointment on time. I was getting very grumpy with my children and just feeling so stressed. Guess what? I was still early and had to sit and wait in the waiting room! All that stress wasn't necessary!
5)When Martha became too busy and bothered, she became cranky.
Because Martha became focused on her work instead of the Lord, she became very grumpy.
When I get my eyes off God and get overly busy, I begin to snap.
6) Martha blamed Mary for her problems
When I get too busy and then cranky, I begin to blame others, usually my husband! But Mary wasn't the problem, Martha herself was the problem!! She was getting worried and flustered unnecessarily. She was too busy.
7) Martha felt sorry for herself
That's me too, sometimes! Self-focused and full of self-pity for poor me who is so overworked and uncared for like Martha!
8) Martha was critical and accusing
She was critical of Mary, accusing her of not helping and accusing Jesus of not caring about her.
When we get too busy, its so easy to be critical and accusing, just like Martha. If not in our words, in our thoughts.
9) Martha put Mary down in order to lift herself up
Martha put Mary down in front of Jesus. I may not always go so far as to do it verbally, but in my mind I can put people down and lift myself up. I can compare people to me, as if I am perfect myself!
10) Martha was irreverent to Jesus
Martha first of all accused Him of not caring, then commanded Him to rebuke Mary. She forgot who she was (a sinner) and who she was talking to (the Creator of the universe!)
When I am feeling like Martha was feeling, my prayers aren't always so reverent either. My prayers can be very selfish.
11) Martha implied that by sitting at Jesus' feet Mary wasn't doing anything.
There are always so many things to be done, that sometimes its hard to see the value of a quiet time with God, reading His Word and praying. The physical things can seem much more important.
12) Martha needed the rebuke not Mary
She must have expected Jesus to rebuke Mary, but instead He rebuked Martha. She was the one who needed it! I wonder how many times I've complained about someone else, when I was the one who needed changing. I remember one time I was very annoyed because my husband had just rung to say he was coming home late from work. Dinner was on the table and we had visitors staying with us, so I was annoyed that he hadn't told me earlier so I could have just planned dinner later. So feeling like Martha, I called the visitors for dinner. One of them asked me why Johan wasn't home. I explained that he had to work late. His comment was, "Wow, he must be tired." Although he hadn't know what I was thinking, it was a rebuke to me. Here my husband was working long hours and would be very tired when he came home. The last thing he needed was a complaining wife to come home to! I got an attitude adjustment real quick!
13)When Jesus spoke, Martha had to listen
Martha was too busy to listen to Jesus, but when He said, Martha, Martha, he got her attention. She had to listen then. And when we get too busy for God, sometimes he has to trip us up somehow to get our attention so that we will listen.