“Lord, don’t you care?” It was the cry of a distraught woman unable to cope with the responsibilities of the home. It was a cry for help, for relief from the pressures and tensions at hand. It was an appeal coming from a conscientious, hard-working person. Many today can relate to her experience. The questioning cry did not pass unheeded for the Lord Jesus was in that warm, friendly home of Martha and Mary at Bethany when the incident happened.
His quiet conversation with Mary was suddenly interrupted when Martha entered the room to express her anxious concern. Martha, that strong, godly woman, who made service to others a priority in her life, had found herself overwhelmed and was at breaking point She loved the Lord, and delighted to welcome Him into the home, but on this particular visit the task of preparing the meal seemed greater than normal. Perhaps the sickness of Lazarus, the burden of caring for him, had taken its toll. Whatever the cause, the effect was seen in her dramatic outburst. “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10:40). She knew that Mary had been sitting adoringly at His feet, hanging on His every word. Mary was enjoying the good things, spiritual, while Martha was preparing the good things, natural.
With this there was nothing basically wrong. It is a balance which must become part of all our lives. We must all find time to sit at His feet to enjoy those quiet times of communion with Him, hearing His voice in the Word. Such meditations enable us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). The mundane things of home and business life must still be handled on their regular basis. It is when things get sadly out of balance that we find ourselves frustrated, tense, and crying out our complaint as Martha did: “Lord, do you not care … therefore tell her to help me”. This is when we can sympathize with Martha, not forgetting that we need a word from the Lord.
In the now silent room the Lord turns from Mary to her sister. “”Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41,42). This was not a rebuke but rather the calming of a very upset person. The tone is kindly as He gives His full attention to this dear woman’s distress. Those eyes of love looked into the besieged mind of Martha and saw how she was being pulled in all ‘directions, mentally and emotionally. Where peace should be reigning there was discord; joy was replaced by tears; in her despair and distress she cried out. Thankfully she called for help from One who could give it. He brought things into perspective with His kindly word.
Whatever the Lord meant by “one thing is needed”, it was obviously the opposite to what Martha was doing. She needed to change her programme; no more rushing here and there, wearing herself out by being over-occupied with the demands of life. The Lord in His wisdom described her situation as being “worried and troubled about many things”, and He seeks to guide away from this upsetting environment to the “good part” which Mary had chosen.
If Christ is given anything but prime place then life becomes unbalanced. It is when we allow the circumstances and demands of life to oust His things, the things of the Spirit, the things associated with His Word, that we find that we cannot cope. So the pressures build up, the cares increase, and we find ourselves pulled and stretched by circumstances in all directions at once. Then follow the uncontrolled tears, the turmoil of mind and body, the emotional stress, the lack of sleep, the irritability, and the decline in spiritual interests. And the cry: “Lord, do You not care?”
Of course He cares. In the time of the storm on the lake the disciples forgot momentarily His nearness, His deity, His power, and in their distress they cried: “Teacher, do you not care …?” (Mark 4:38). Of course He cared, and instantly He came to their rescue. Peace followed, and a restoring of faith and joy in Him. Even David thought he had been wholly deserted when troubles forced him to flee to the cave for prayer and meditation. “Look”, he says,” … no man cares for my soul” (Psalm 142:4). But the Lord cared; as he cried his anguished prayer the Lord was there with him listening. The same One who walked with him through the valley of the shadow was with him in the cave. Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there!
At no time must we doubt the presence of the Lord with us. Daily we must claim His promise: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5). We should avoid letting financial matters come between ourselves and the Lord. He knows all about our circumstances; He knows the end from the beginning. “Let your gentleness (sweet reasonableness) be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4:5). That word “gentleness” (“forbearance” in older versions) has been translated as “not demanding your lawful rights” knowing that the Lord is near to balance out the deficiencies. Another reminder of the Lord’s presence. Dare we forget His promise to the disciples as He prepared to leave them knowing that they would pass through perilous times: “… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
“At the blest mercy-seat
Pleading for me
My feeble faith looks up,
O Lord, to Thee;
Help me the cross to bear,
Thy wondrous love declare,
Some song to raise, or prayer,
Something for Thee.”