Written By: Lyndsay Terry
Names are powerful. Names are so often prophetic of our callings, destinies, and identities. We see this over and over again in scripture. Even times the Lord renames people to assign their new identities or destinies.
Simon - Heard - changed by Jesus to Peter - Rock.
Simon went from hearing the truth to his new name - Peter - his belief in Christ as Truth being the whole foundation the Church was built upon.
Jacob - supplanter - was changed by God to Israel - to wrestle with God. His fathered the entire nation of God’s chosen people.
Abram - high father - who, at this point, only had a child with his mistress because he had become impatient waiting for God to fulfill his promise of children with Sarai - to Abraham - father of multitudes. God gave him the destiny of generations of God’s chosen people. And he cemented this destiny in his very name - his identity.
Sarai - princess - was renamed by God to Sarah - noblewoman. God renamed she and her husband when they had lost faith in God’s promise and went their own way to create their own destiny. God promised her children, but it had been so long and she was so old. She began to believe she needed to make a way for herself. After she failed and fell flat on her face, the Lord showed up to remind her of his promise and gave her a new name to cement her identity and destiny. When I read her transition from Princess to Noblewoman, it gives me a picture of a woman straightening her shoulders, standing a little taller, and having greater influence.
These are just a couple examples of the importance of names to our God. Names have power.
I want to touch on the story of a woman who often gets a bad rap. She is seen as “less than” so often when we share her story because she is compared to her sister. If you have a sibling, you understand how frustrating and devastating it can be to be compared to your sibling…and super annoying. This woman has two other prominent siblings in scripture and she’s often only remembered for one bad moment. I want to look at her story…her name…today.
Martha - lady of the house.
You probably already know the story I want to focus on…Mary and Martha when Jesus came to visit their home. You can read it in Luke 10:38-42. It isn’t long, but it is powerful.
“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha’s NAME, her identity, her calling, her destiny, means “Lady of the House”. It is her role to tend to the Lord’s needs and the guests in her home. To serve them, feed them, and care for them. Her role is beautiful and important. Jesus didn’t diminish her. We so often read this passage with that tone. That Mary had it right and Martha was just a busybody. But Jesus didn't diminish her...and He doesn't diminish you.
Listen…Martha was serving the Lord. Serving the Lord is necessary, a command even, and she was taking that very seriously. She was fulfilling her calling and living true to her identity.
So then how do those two things add up? If she was doing a good thing and even the right thing, why was Jesus saying Mary was in the right place and she wasn’t?
Martha had become overwhelmed with all the serving. She was anxious (have you felt that way in your ministry to the Church?), she was troubled (have you felt that way in your ministry to your family?), she was so busy (have you run yourself ragged?).
So often we read this as though Martha’s problem was that she was doing too much. I don’t believe that was Martha’s problem. You see, it’s not was you DO that burns you out. It’s what you DON’T do.
Martha was so busy serving the Lord, she forgot to spend time with the Lord.
Sis, when your work FOR the Lord replaces your intimacy WITH the Lord, you will burn out, become anxious and troubled about many things, and, like Martha, miss out on the good portion…sitting at the feet of Jesus and hearing his voice.
Yes, you’ve been called to this ministry and that ministry. Yes, you need to do the laundry and make dinner and bathe the kids and love your spouse. Yes, you need to do your job and care for your friends and connect with family and build your life. Yes to all of the above. But…
If those vital things become a replacement for your time sitting at Jesus’ feet and hearing his voice, then you’re missing out on the good portion and you’ll burn yourself out.
Martha just needed a moment of realignment. She just needed to be called back into His presence. She just needed the Lord’s voice. She just needed to lift her head.
Sweet friend, this is your moment of realignment. This is the Lord calling you back into His presence. It’s time for you to hear his voice again. It’s time to lift your head.
Lord Jesus, speak to your daughters here in this moment. We need your presence. We need your voice and your teaching. We are so busy, so tired, so dry. We need those rivers of living water that come only from you and only through time spent with you. So here we are, ready to listen, ready to be still, ready to rest at your feet. Renew us, refresh us, and revitalize us with your Spirit so that we can fulfill our calling, destinies, and live out our identities in you with passion and purpose. But we don’t want to forget WHY we do this and WHO we do this for. It’s because of you, Jesus. It’s all for you, Jesus. We don’t want to miss the good portion. We don’t want to miss you.
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