I can still remember my Mother crushing up an aspirin and adding some sugar and water to it. She would put it all on a spoon and I would dutifully swallow it when sick. Now, there are plenty of children-friendly pain relievers that do this. But my Mother’s method was the only way I would swallow what was good for me. A spoonful of sugar does indeed make the medicine go down, as in the Mary Poppins movie lyric.
In our verse for today, the Lord is reprimanding Martha with gentle correction. Martha was at her wit’s end doing all the meal preparation and serving without the help of her sister, Mary. In an outburst of self-pity, she tries to publicly shame Mary and enlist the Lord’s help in getting Mary to help her.
I love the response Jesus gives her. You can just hear the love in His voice when twice He speaks her name. This is the only time He repeated a woman’s name and it was done with gentle love. Martha, in her well-meaning service, had neglected her first priority of listening to her Savior. It was hard to hear but the Lord was gracious in the way he addressed her.
Jesus’ gentle manner with Martha was the sweet taste in His rebuke. Like foul-tasting medicine, we need to swallow His correction. The Lord disciplines those who belong to Him (Heb. 12:4-7). But the goal is always restoration and growth. It is never done in anger or exasperation.
Do I hear Him repeating my name in love? Lord, keep me listening to Your gentle correction. Keep my heart close to Yours.