As humans, we have an awful tendency to compare ourselves to others. Growing up, we compare ourselves to those that are better than we are at sports, school, etc. As adults, our comparisons don’t end. It’s comparing houses, cars, what colleges our kids got into. Comparison never ends. President Theodore Roosevelt is famously quoted as having said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 is a prime example of comparison troubling Martha and her inner trouble spills out onto those around her.
We can all picture the scene, maybe you feel like you live through it every day! Mary is sitting in the middle of the living room, soaking up time with Jesus, listening to his words and sitting at his feet. Martha is buzzing about like a woman on a mission to show her guests great hospitality. Can’t you imagine Martha buzzing by the living room and seeing her sister sitting at Jesus’ feet and just thinking to herself, “This isn’t fair! Why does she get to sit at his feet while I slave away in the kitchen? This is where the trouble begins. Mary starts to feel deep within her soul this sense that what is happening is not right or fair! And in a lot of ways, she’s right! So she runs to the problem-solver-in-chief, Jesus.
Jesus, please, correct her. This isn’t fair. Jesus responds to Martha by saying, “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things.” The word for upset in the Greek is thorubeo, the picture here is almost one of Martha trying to start a riot to overthrow her offender, Mary (In Acts 17:5, the same word root is used to talk about an actual riot!). However, Jesus comes with gentle correction to Martha. This got me to thinking, how many of us are trying to “incite riots” with those around us when we’re troubled? In the COVID-19 era, you may be subject to more time than we’re used to with people who we dearly love but are maybe not “pulling their weight” when it comes to chores and other responsibilities. Maybe it’s playing the comparison game as our work starts to pile up and coworkers aren’t up to task.
As we start to play the comparison game, how could we avoid starting riots? Well, I think Martha’s first inclination is actually the correct one. Run to Jesus! Sometimes we’re tempted to share our problems first with social media, prayer chains, mom, anyone we can find. Intrinsically, these aren’t bad things! But Martha does the best thing. She goes to Jesus! If you’re facing “trouble” deep within your soul, run to the source of peace, love and comfort found in Jesus’ gentle embrace.
By Seth Redden
High School Pastor
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