Trying to Manipulate God: Luke 10:38-42

Focus Passage: Luke 10:38-42 (GW)

38 As they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to him talk.

40 But Martha was upset about all the work she had to do. So she asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. 42 There’s only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her.”

Read Luke 10:38-42 in context and/or in other translations on!

Have you ever felt as though you were doing everything, while someone else does little to nothing?

Every time I hear or read about Mary and Martha in this passage, I see how Martha feels like this: Mary is sitting doing “nothing”, and she is left to manage all the “hostess” details.

And with every passing minute, Martha gets more frustrated with Mary, which finally results in Martha’s outburst in verse 40, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.

It is in this verse that we find our big idea for today’s journal entry.

Often times when we find ourselves in a situation we feel is unfair, rather than confront the person who is slacking off, we go above them and ask someone they respect or obey to tell them to pick up the slack. In this verse, Martha does not direct her frustration towards Mary for leaving the work. Instead, she directs her frustration at Jesus, and she tells Jesus to tell Mary to help her.

I’m sure this is something that we all have done at some point. However, at the root of this request is manipulation. Martha is being manipulative by trying to get Jesus to tell Mary what to do.

However, Jesus does not fall for manipulation. I don’t think He ever does, since I don’t see any examples of this as I read the Bible, nor have I ever been able to manipulate His working in my own life.

About the clearest example of trying to manipulate God’s leading can be found in the Old Testament book and story of Jonah: He tries to ditch God’s leading by sailing to the far end of the earth, and ends up in the belly of a whale, who brings him back to shore.

Which leads me to the big idea: We cannot fool or manipulate God, nor should we even try to. Instead, we should let God lead us, grow us, and teach us because He knows what is best for us.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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