Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mary & Martha (part 2)

This story also teaches us about social boundaries in the kingdom of God. We may unintentionally decide who is “in” and who is “out” when it comes to the kingdom of God. We may think a particular person, because of their social status, probably won’t make a good follower of Jesus. Jesus challenges that type of thinking here when He allows Mary to sit at His feet and learn. In Jesus’ world of the first century it was men who would sit at their teacher’s feet and learn like disciples. Women were to keep busy in the kitchen or with raising the children. It was somewhat shocking for a woman to sit at a man’s feet. In the first century men were at the top of society and ranked higher than women. Here, Mary is acting like a man and it upsets Martha because it goes against the grain of society. Society tells Martha that her sister shouldn’t be doing this.

Jesus’ response to Martha indicates that there is something different between the social boundaries in the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world. Jesus doesn’t mind a woman sitting at His feet learning. He doesn’t mind a woman being His disciple. As a matter of fact, when you read through the Gospel of Luke you see that Jesus extends the invitation to follow Him to anyone willing to count the cost and follow Him. There are no social boundaries in the kingdom of God. Everyone is invited in.

As leaders we need to be looking at people with Jesus’ eyes and always be extending the invitation to enter God’s kingdom. Society may tell us there is a difference socially and in status between a garbage man and a doctor, but we need to remember that Jesus allows both to be His disciples and learn from Him. Will we play the popularity game and only allow people like us to be Christians or will we open the doors as Jesus did for all to come? Will our church be open to bankers and lawyers as well as alcoholics and drug addicts? As one commentator said in regards to Mary and Martha, “this story is about the boundary-breaking call of Jesus.” We cannot let social status keep us from sharing the Gospel and our lives with others. Jesus has commissioned us to make disciples out of all kinds of people regardless of where they rank in society. Being a disciple of Jesus is more important than anything else and the invitation is (or at least should be) open to all.

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