“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.
But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’” (Luke 10:38-40) (NKJV)
Steve Tran was tired of spotting them crawling down the wall while he watched TV. He was tired of the middle-of-the-night discoveries when he turned on the kitchen light. He was tired of finding the roaches hiding in the dark corners of his pantry. Steve was fed up, and ready for revenge.
There were stores in Westminster, California, that sold bug bombs and Steve bought some. The instructions on the packaging said that two would do it for a house the size of Steve’s, but he didn’t want just two bug bombs. He had it with the roaches, and he was ready to blow them to smithereens. So he bought twenty-five bombs.
You guessed it! The thick spray reached the pilot light of his stove, ignited, and created the biggest bug bomb folks had ever seen in Westminster. Steve’s screen door blew clear across the street. Every window and piece of glass in his apartment was shattered. His furniture caught fire and the fire department soon soaked his smoke-damaged belongings. It took $10,000 for the apartment complex to repair the damage, and years for Steve to recover from his anger. And wouldn’t you know it ? The roaches were back by the following Sunday. The moral of the story? If you’ve got a problem inside your house, be sure you solve the problem without destroying your home! Sibling rivalries have been destroying homes for centuries. In the Bible, some of the most memorable stories are of brothers and sisters who simply couldn’t get along. Joseph upset his brothers with his dreams of ruling over them. Jacob and Esau were wrestling with each other as they were being born. Some of David’s family seemed determined to destroy one another. One of the clearest lessons in the Bible for families today comes from the story of Mary and Martha, two adult sisters living in the same house with their brother Lazarus. Let me quickly share some thoughts with you from their lives that can move you from conflict to resolution. Confrontation avoided is a conflict in the making. Martha and Mary had drastically different ideas of what should happen when Jesus came to their house. They failed to have a very necessary conversation. Martha grew frustrated with Mary but didn’t communicate that frustration early on and it actually made the problem far worse. Here’s something important to remember. Confrontation is no more than a conversation about differences. And confrontation is a lot more pleasant than conflict! Secondly, notice that serving one another is the price of success. Few conflicts inside a family are the fault of one person only. If Martha’s mistake was avoiding confrontation, Mary’s mistake was in placing her own desires ahead of those of her sister. Many family fights are conceived and birthed in the concept of selfishness. Remember the Bible tells us to esteem others more highly than ourselves. It is contrary to the current teaching of our culture, but it still works when it is tried. And lastly, remember that knowing Jesus is the key to any family’s success. Martha and Mary eventually suffered through the greatest crisis of their lives when their brother Lazarus died. Miraculously, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and in John 12:1-3, we read of a celebration banquet in their home.
Martha served. Mary worshipped, Lazarus was very much alive, enjoying the meal. The family was working perfectly a far cry from the first time we met them. The difference? Jesus not only had been in their home–now they followed Jesus and His teachings with no reservations.
Rev. Mike Shiery
Pilgrim Bible Church