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Showing Love to Others: A Blessing or Burden?

My Friend Debbie

      I grew up in an Italian home and my family enjoyed entertaining guests in their modest apartment. I vividly remember watching my parents busily preparing for their guests making sure everything was just right down to the perfectly perked pot of coffee. Finally, the doorbell would ring and the guests would arrive. The welcoming included warm greetings and hugs. The picture of family and friends gathered around the table sharing stories, laughter, and eating a bountiful meal was a familiar happening in our home. My family used the gift of hospitality to bless others.

     In my years of counseling, however, I've observed that not everyone sees such sharing of our affection towards those we are in relationship with as a blessing-- to some -- it is a burden.

     Let's look at Mary and Martha as was recorded in Luke 10:38-42. The scene opens with Jesus and His disciples coming to the village where two sisters named Mary and Martha lived. Martha, demonstrating her gift of hospitality, "opened her home" to Jesus. Caught up in the preparations of the meal, Martha became distracted (Luke 10:40 NIV) by all she had to do. Mary, on the other hand, "sat at the Lord's feet listening to all he had to say" Luke 10:39( NIV).

    Inspired by this story, I will focus on the gift of blessing others as Martha extends the gift of hospitality to Jesus. As any hostess would, Martha turns her attention to the preparations of the meal. Although her intentions appear to be that of blessing, Martha's task seems to take a turn. The blessing was becoming a burden.

     While Martha was overwhelmed and burdened by the preparations, Mary was both awed and blessed by the presence of Jesus. With Martha's concern escalating, she finally expressed her feelings to the Lord by saying, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" Luke 10:40b( NIV).

     Jesus being aware of her feelings replied, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her," (Luke 10:41, 42 NIV).

     Overwhelmed by her situation, Martha's critical spirit towards Mary prevented her from seeing into her sister's heart. What was not obvious to Martha certainly was obvious to Jesus.

My Friend Debbie

     Years ago, I observed a valuable quality in my father-in-law. While he was a man that loved the Word of God, he also lived the Word. As a respected business man and church member, he interacted with many people of different persuasions. Based on 1 Corinthians 13, he practiced Christ's love by giving people the benefit of the doubt when he could not understand their way of thinking or the manner in which they conducted themselves. He responded with patience and kindness, which I have found difficult at times.

     In scripture we find that Paul's instruction was clear to the Corinthian church.

     "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Loves does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres," 1 Cor. 13:4-7 (NIV)

     Jesus was the perfect example of this love in his assessment of Mary and Martha's choices. The first thing I see is that while Jesus was aware of Martha's worries and concerns, he spoke to the heart of the matter by saying, "only one thing was needed. . .and it will not be taken away. . ." Luke 10: 42 (NIV) Jesus's love was patient and kind in pointing the way to what was needed to maintain a relationship with Him. Martha wanted to bless Jesus, but in turn Jesus was blessing Martha just as her sister Mary was being blessed.

     Looking for ways to bless others with love that is both patient and kind can make this Valentine's Day extra special. Find someone other than those close to you and give them something that will last eternally.


     "Lord Jesus, help me to see others as you see them for we are all precious in your sight. Lord, make me a blessing to someone today. Lead me to that person you desire me to bless with love that is patient and love that is kind so that you will be made real to them. Thank you for your loving patience and kindness to me, Amen."


     The Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Copyright 1978 by New York International Bible Society

     Comay, Joan and Brownrigg, Ronald, Who's Who In the Bible Together With The Apocrypha, Two Volumes in One, Wings Books, New York 1993

Copyright © 2008-2015 Ruth Van de Riet

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