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Martha-Syndrome

September 10, 2007

Do you have Martha-Syndrome? Surprisingly many undershepherds do. It is that age old of problem of doing so ‘many tasks’ that we have no time to spend with our Lord. Like Martha we are so busy serving Jesus, we have no time for Jesus.

As one who often struggles with this myself, Luke’s unique story (Luke 10: 38-43) was a great challenge last evening. Briefly summarized, here are three lessons I drew out for ‘spiritual workaholics.’

(i) Loving Jesus and learning from him is always top priority
Always, always, always. This is what Martha’s forget. It doesn’t matter that you’ve prepared a nice meal for Jesus if you’re always in the kitchen! Jesus wants more from you than what you can do for him. He wants you. Jesus didn’t die just purchase another worker for the kingdom. He shed blood to buy a relationship with you.

ii) Ministry itself can ‘distract’ from knowing Jesus better
If you’ve not found this yet, you will no discover it soon. One of biggest impediments to your fellowship with God is your work for God. It is often not bad things, but good things done inordinately that crowd out of the best things. We need to fight against ministry taking over.

iii) Time spent learning from Jesus is not doing ‘nothing’ but choosing ‘one thing’ of great significance
Spiritual workaholics don’t find the idea of doing nothing very appeal. So Luke 10:42 might be helpful: Mary chose “the one thing needed.” Devotional time is not doing nothing. Its not ‘time out’ – if by that we mean, a non-activity. It is a focused and rigorous and exclusive activity where we say, ‘Lord, for the next 30 minutes, I’m yours.’

So are you cultivating intimacy, or just filling your life with activity?

4 comments

  1. […] Martha Syndrome – Colin summarizes his thoughts on Luke 10:38-43 and how ministry can often crowd out intimacy with Jesus. […]


  2. Hmmm….

    In John 11 we find Martha serving and Jesus does not “correct” her. I wonder why ?

    If she should have learnt to be at Jesus’ feet, why was she not there, and why did Jesus not say that to her in John 11?

    Maybe, Martha’s “mistake” was criticism of her sister?


  3. Maybe it was her pride like the older brother in the Prodigal parable?


  4. […] shout-out to Unashamed Workman for this post on the Martha Syndrome. How about this thought:   Jesus didn’t die just to purchase another worker for the […]



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