First of all, I want to express my deep gratitude for the many comments I’ve received in response to my new TV program Time With Denise Renner. One response even said, “Thank you so much for this word of encouragement. I really needed it to keep pushing through my difficulty and not give up.” Sometimes we all need encouragement, and it is my joy and honor to encourage you.
I can honestly say that there have been many times when I’ve needed to hear an encouraging word to keep going. But when we face trials and decide to keep going — trusting the Lord and loving others anyway — we become intimidating to the devil. And as we push through our difficulty, with every push, we also grow to understand God’s faithfulness more and more. He is just waiting on the other side of that push to bring us to victory.
I want to draw your attention to a very important passage of Scripture that is important to our busy lives, even though this year has barely started. It is Luke 10:38-42:
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
I have heard messages on this passage before, explaining that we cannot all be like Mary — that some of us have to be like Martha and that Marthas are just as powerful as Marys. But whether or not that’s true is not as important as the point the Holy Spirit was making as He inspired Luke to write.
Notice what verse 39 says, “And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet….” Because of this word “also,” it’s possible that at one time, Martha also sat at the feet of Jesus. But on this particular day when she felt so much pressure to prepare a meal for the Lord, Martha showed herself not as one longing to hear Jesus’ words, but as someone who was fault-finding, critical, and also accusing of Jesus because she thought He didn’t care about her current situation.
Martha loved Jesus. Why was she acting in such an angry, fault-finding way? She was distracted and weighed down, so her weaknesses were coming out for all to see.
Have you ever experienced a time when, because someone else put pressure on you or because you put pressure on yourself, you blamed others for your problems and maybe even blamed God? Have you ever started complaining in your heart like Martha, telling Jesus, “I don’t like what’s going on in my life right now, and I want You to do something about it — I want you to tell these other people what to do”? Or have you ever said to Jesus, “I can’t believe this is happening to me — it seems like You do not care”?
Maybe you have never had these feelings or thoughts inside you. Maybe you never doubted that Jesus cared, but at this moment recorded in Luke 10, Martha did.
I love what Jesus said to Martha in verses 41 and 42, “Martha, Martha….” First, He said her name two times. Have you ever wanted to correct someone so gently because you cared for that person so much, so you looked him or her in the eye and said that person’s name twice? I have, and it was not to reprimand the person, but to correct and redirect his or her actions.
Jesus went on to say, in effect, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Martha, don’t worry; don’t be troubled.” Could Jesus have been saying to Martha, “Martha, don’t worry, don’t be troubled. When you are worried and troubled, you cannot hear Me and you won’t have peace”?
Martha was really upset, and Jesus knew it. Verse 42 tells us that Jesus, in essence, responded, “Martha, there is one thing you really need. I know you think you need Mary to help you. You’re worried that I don’t care, and you want to make sure I know these things that are troubling you. But that is not what you need. Martha, you need My presence right now. You need to hear My words right now. That is what you really need.”
Friend, I have acted like Martha at times in my life when I thought that if Jesus would just change this or that person or circumstance, everything would be perfect. But what about the next time when things become difficult again and the pressure is on? How am I supposed to act then?
I’m not saying there are not real problems that need to change — of course there are. There can be terrible things happening around us and to us and to the people we love. But it does not help our situation to blame Jesus when bad things happen. He is the answer, not the problem! To believe He doesn’t care is to believe a lie.
So what do you need when you’re worried or stressed? Exactly what Jesus said to Martha: “Martha, you need to hear from Me, and you need My wisdom and presence.” Or He might say to you, “I am here for you. Come to me and I will give you the wisdom, peace, and comfort that you long for so you can deal with this problem. I am not your problem; I am your answer.”
Can you just imagine Jesus speaking to you as He did to Martha and saying your name twice? Just think of Him gently placing His hands on your cheeks and looking you in the eyes as He speaks your name. Imagine that He says to you, “I know you’re upset, but what you really need is to hear from Me.”
But how many times do we get our eyes off Jesus and focus on the problem instead? No matter what the problem is, I want you to know, the answer is Jesus!
Although this year has just begun, you may already be facing some kind of threating situation, and you need to know that Jesus cares. I encourage you to meditate on Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28,29:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Jesus is our answer. It isn’t that He doesn’t care like Martha thought — it’s the very opposite. He cares and He tells us, “Come unto Me and I will help you.”
I pray that as you read this letter, you clearly see that what Martha really needed was to hear from Jesus. Sometimes the situation we’re in combined with the pressure we’re feeling can be just enough to push us into acting like Martha, but as you can see through this teaching, our answer is the same as Martha’s. When we’re struggling, we need to go to Jesus. Just as Martha’s answer was so close to her, in the midst of our own difficulties, our answer is so close to us if we’ll just draw near to Him.
Thank you for letting me share these powerful truths with you.
I pray the following prayer for you:
Father, we come to You in the name of Jesus. Help us, Lord, to recognize in this situation, which seems full of pressure and obstacles that we are not to blame others, and we are especially not to blame You and doubt Your care for us. Father, right now, we receive help from the Holy Spirit to see this situation as it really is and to receive Your love, care, and comfort. Thank You for never leaving us or forsaking us. We receive by faith right now Your care and your comfort in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Again, I want to invite you to watch my brand-new weekly TV program Time With Denise Renner at 7:00 a.m. CT each Monday. You can view it on YouTube, Facebook, or Renner.org. Also, if you have any prayer requests, please let us know. We are here for you and want to help you bring these requests to the Lord in faith, believing. Call or write to our team at 1-800-742-5593 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moving forward together,