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After Martha said this, she went back and talked to her sister Mary alone. Martha said, “The Teacher is here and he is asking for you.” John 11:28

His final days were excruciatingly painful. She spent her time going from his bedside to looking down the street to see if they were coming. She had friends, fellow mourners, posted at the gate of the small town, ready to send word as soon as they could be seen along the dusty path.

Time was running out. Her brother, Lazarus, was weakening fast. Where was he? How could he delay at a time like this? She counted the days. She’d sent him word two days ago. There had been time for him to make the trip. He should have been here by now.

One last look down the street. Nothing. Her gaze and thoughts were interrupted by Martha’s touch on her shoulder.

“He’s gone.”

She ran to his side. His lifeless body still warm, but it was obvious he was no longer there. She wept. She lay across his body. This, her only brother, her friend. In the Jewish family system, when the father died, the oldest brother took his place. For the first time in her adult life she felt like an orphan. If only they’d come. If only they’d been the kind of friends they said they were. The teacher said he’d be with her always! Where was he now?

The days ahead were a blur of memories and mourning; of preparations and decisions; of greeting members of the community and family who’d come to comfort. She was gracious. She was always gracious. But she often cast an eye down the street to see if they had come.

She sat in her room a couple days after the funeral. “Strange,” She thought, “I’m not sure if I’m sad the Teacher didn’t come or angry; disgusted or disappointed; confused or…”

Her thoughts were interrupted by Martha’s touch, “The Teacher is here and he is asking for you.”

There was no hesitation. She ran to him and hugged him, held him as she sobbed into his arms. Once she composed herself in anguish she whispered, barely audibly, “If only you’d been here he wouldn’t have died.” There was anguish in her voice to be sure, but no doubt.

We often read the story of Lazarus and focus on the resurrection of this dearly loved man without considering the emotion of the other players in the story. Few, if any of us, will ever see someone rise from the dead, all of us have experienced the absence of God in the midst of troubling times.

God’s silence is not an indicator of his apathy to your pain. While Jesus didn’t appear when Mary and Martha hoped, his appearance fulfilled their need in His time, not theirs. What struggle are you going through? What event have you invited God to attend, but gotten no answer? We can’t understand his timing, but we should never doubt that he will come to us in his time.

He is risen. He is risen, indeed! Let the prayer below guide you in falling into the Saviors arms. He’s asking for you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. This turmoil I’m going through right now seems unbearable.  I’ve looked for your presence but can’t find it. I invite you to come now to comfort, strengthen and renew me. Amen.


But Jesus said, “My Father has never stopped working, and that is why I keep on working.” John 5:17 (CEV)

The story of Mary and Martha is a great study in work ethics. Martha was the typical ‘type A’ personality. When there was work to be done, she found it…and in her eyes there was always work to be done.

Mary on the other hand was a ‘type B’. I’m not saying she didn’t see the importance of work. She agreed with Martha in one respect. There would always be something to do. But since work would always be there, there was no urgency to get it done. Look at the other things in life. Take time to smell the roses. Life is too short…you get the picture.

So, it’s no surprise that when Jesus stopped for a visit Martha sprang into action making sure everything was just right while Mary took some time to sit at the master’s feet. When Martha confronted the issue Jesus gently reminded her that while work was important, the more important things were to be about kingdom work and with kingdom work there is no calendar.

Jesus had a tendency to view Kingdom work a little differently than the establishment in that regard. Take for example the day he became a missing person in the family entourage home fromJerusalem. After being missing for three days Mary and Joseph found him talking to the Pharisees in the temple. When she questioned him, his response was to remind her that he needed to be about his Father’s business. Kingdom business knew no calendar or age requirements.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry he had a penchant for doing the work of the kingdom and never once do we read that Jesus told some poor sick person to see him after the Sabbath! When he saw a need, he met it.

The lesson for all of us in this isn’t that Kingdom work is the ONLY important work. Kingdom work should be a part of our everyday work existence. You are a plumber? Do it for the Kingdom. A greeter at the local discount store? Do it for the Kingdom! It doesn’t matter where you are, what you are doing or what day the calendar says.

Never stop working for the Kingdom because the King has never stopped working for you. Every day the sun rises and sets. Every day the world spins on its axis. Every day you receive the strength and grace and mercy for another day of work.

PRAYER: Father I thank you for the work you have given me to do. There are days when it’s tedious. There are days when office politics come close to driving me insane. Help me to remember that the work I do is for your Kingdom. Thank you that you never stop working on my behalf. Amen


So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” John 11:3 (NLT)

“Your dear friend is sick.”

He was the Son of the Living God. He was a King. He was surrounded by people who needed his touch of healing for their souls and bodies. They were tired, poor in spirit and in pain.

But Mary and Martha had no problem sending him the message. They knew Jesus. They knew that no matter where he was or what he was doing he would want to know about Lazarus. Why? We really know nothing about Lazarus. He certainly wasn’t a public official of any importance (that we know of). Why would someone of Jesus’ caliber and importance give the news about Lazarus anything more than a passing thought?

Because, Lazarus was Jesus friend, that’s why. Not just any friend mind you. Lazarus was Jesus very dear friend. Some translations use the word dearly loved one, but I like the very dear friend statement. To me you can love someone from a distance, but a very dear friend is one you go to when they need you. You drop everything so that you can be with them to comfort them when they need comfort, encourage them when they need encouragement and celebrate when a celebration is in order.

Mary and Martha knew something each of us needs to remember. We, like Lazarus, are Jesus’ very dear friends. There’s never a time when he’s too busy to listen. Never a point in our lives where we are too far from him, even during those times when it seems he is silent.

When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick he was a day’s journey away. A day can seem like an eternity when we are in need. A day can make the difference of life and death, of celebration or need of encouragement.

Jesus answers often come in ways we don’t understand or agree with, but they always come in a way that will glorify God and strengthen us for the journey ahead. I’m sure that Mary and Martha watched the road desperately in during Lazarus’ last days. One eye on the road, one their dying brother. They went through the mourning. They went through the funeral and burial. Four agonizing days later Jesus came and the ‘If only you’d been here’ resulted in a reunion with their dear brother.

You, like Lazarus, are Jesus’ very dear friend. He is always aware of your need and never removed from your pain. He understands your anger, doubt and worry. His timing isn’t always understood, but it’s always best.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, there have been so many times when I’ve wondered where you were of if you even realized the struggle I’m in. Thank you for the reminder that I’m your very dear friend. When I’m in the dark times of my life I pray that you would help me remember you love me and that even if you don’t answer the way I’d like, your way is always best. In your name I pray, Amen.


But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42

There are so many times in our lives when, like Martha, we get distracted. There are, after all, so many ‘good things’ that need to be done. People are being devastated by war, natural disasters, health issues and economic woes.

Then there are churches that need to be built and maintained. Youth groups that need planning. Worship teams that need to practice. Bible Studies need to be held. Accountability partners need to be met with. Prayer groups need to be held and nurtured.

And while we are doing all that, the laundry at home needs to be done. The lawn needs to be mowed. The car needs fixing. Grandma and Grandpa need to be visited…and don’t forget Aunt Tillie’s birthday card, (she never forgot to send you one). The house needs cleaning and painting. The kid’s homework and music lessons must be completed and school activities attended.

Is it any wonder we get tired? Is there any question why sometimes it’s hard to squeeze just one more thing into our lives? There are so many noble and worthy causes around us that need attention. So many people who need to hear about Jesus and to see his love acted out on a daily, personal basis. Kingdom work will never get done unless Kingdom people do it.

Maybe that’s why Martha was so intense that day. Maybe she saw how tired Jesus and his disciples were. Maybe she saw this moment as an opportunity to show Jesus just how much she loved him, appreciated him and was thankful that he raised Lazarus from the dead. Perhaps this was her act of worship to the most high God.

Christian author, Larry Crabb, states in his book “The Pressure is Off” that many Christians have burned out and given up on ministry and even church because they are just too tired and too caught up in life to fulfill the requirements of the Christian walk.

What Jesus really wants from us is to sit at his feet. He just wants to spend time with us; to share life with us. The other things need to be done, for sure. There are many ministry opportunities for us to involve ourselves in throughout the community, in our churches and in our family. But what Jesus really longs for is for you to spend just a few minutes at his feet. It’s time, not activity that builds relationship. He wants that relationship with you.

Time. Time in his word, the laundry will get done. Time. Time in prayer and meditation, the Sunday School lesson can wait. Time. It’s the one thing Jesus longs to have with you.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I confess to you that I’ve just been way to busy with good things to take time at your feet. I realize that the most important part of my day is the part where I sit at your feet. Empower me with your Spirit to make the time to spend with you so that I can have the energy I need to minister for you. In your name I pray, Amen.

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