Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, one family, under the same roof, sharing common areas. There is not much biographical information about the trio, but one thing is for sure, they were Jesus’ faithful followers and friends (see John 12:1-3).
The little we know about them is sufficient to draw an illustration of devout service and unwavering commitment to God. The way they conducted their lives is worth our attention from the spiritual standpoint of service. In one of His frequent visits to their home, all of the disciples were there with Him. For Jesus, it was much like going over to see family.
No doubt in these visits, all three worked with the purpose of serving their guest of honor. It is reasonable to suggest that they didn’t argue over the best seat or who was better qualified, nor did they resent each other’s abilities. There was no time for trying to outdo each other. Their Guest would not have enjoyed that spirit among the host, friends, or family. Instead, each fulfilled their assignment in his or her unique way.
Martha assigned a task to everyone and she was pretty busy as she served others. Have you ever known someone in church like Martha? Because of Martha the church budget gets balanced, the building gets built, communion gets served, and even flowers get a fresh look each week. You only notice a Martha when she is missing. Marthas do not live off applause, since they do not seek the spotlight.
Then there is Mary. I mean, who has time to sit and listen when there is bread to be baked, tables to be set, and souls to be saved? There is a place for praise and worship and that is what Mary was doing. Do you need prayers, praise, thanksgiving, or just someone to lead your church or group into worship? Marys are so needed. We need them to pray for our children and young people, for our marriages, and to bring revival into our soul. God loves worship and He enjoys having us at His feet.
How about our friend, Lazarus? Well, he had a story to tell, especially after he was raised from the dead. At the feast hosted by Simon the Pharisee at his home for Jesus and His disciples, many Jews and Greek folks showed up. They came not so much to see Jesus, but to hear Lazarus’ story. What a testimony! Could it be that some people are getting to know Jesus today, mainly because your life experience has impacted them positively? It’s possible.
“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully”—Romans 12:6-8, NIV.
Martha served, Mary worshiped, and Lazarus had a story to tell. As you contemplate your spiritual walk, think of people in church, each one with different skills, abilities, and life experiences not similar to yours. With all our perceived differences, we can serve and honor Jesus. Could Jesus’ friends do without one of the three? Can our church effectively do ministry without one of the three? It is my prayer for each of us to find ourselves serving God and others.
Elias F. Zabala, Sr., is the Atlantic Union Conference treasurer and stewardship director.