There are probably more than a few people who hold Lazarus and his family in high regard. These three brothers and sisters are mentioned by the Bible quite a lot of times, even more than some of Jesus’ 12 apostles.
Lazarus, Martha, and Mary appear to be among Jesus’ 70 disciples. Lazarus’ family was full of many emotions: the joyful laughter of many people when Jesus and the disciples visited his house, each other’s hurried shouts as they tried to finish getting the house ready to receive guests, their hearts deeply inspired through through Jesus’ words and stories and the longing they felt every time Jesus left. But even more difficult to bear was the sounds of his two younger sisters weeping throughout the long nights and slow days after Lazaurs passed away from his sickness.
Through all the different emotional melodies that followers of God must all have to experience, the three people from Lazarus’ family, each one, left behind for us a model of how to love God and serve Him. the Bible doesn’t let us know about his parents – perhaps they passed away leaving Lazarus to become the leader of this family. We don’t know whether Lazarus’ family was rich or not, but it’s clear they had enough: Their house was big enough to receive many guests and their things, there was enough food for guests to eat their fill, and, especially, there was enough enthusiasm for then to greet and serve many people. Lazarus and his family’s heart for welcoming others into their home was so warm and inviting that Jesus and all His disciples could always come and stay if they needed. Lazarus was so close with Jesus that He called Lazarus “our friend” – a friend of Jesus and all those who followed Him. Not only so, there is a Bible passage that records three times that “Jesus loved Lazarus.” And Lazarus, after Jesus brought him back to live, used his very existence as a testimony for those around him to believe in Jesus.
If we are talking about Martha, perhaps every Church could use someone with the gift of service as she had. In the book of Romans, Paul wrote out a long list of those he wanted to commend because of their service. He said they were those who have: “worked hard for you” and “worked hard in the Lord”. Martha was one of those people. She worked and toiled hard in her service to the point that she felt alone and started to complain and so Jesus had to correct her. But all of those things make it clear that we should not neglect our focus on God as well as lose our joy as we serve. We shouldn’t make light of Mary’s hard work. But hold on, many of us know that Martha was good at serving, but probably only a few people noticed that even though she was very busy with her work, Martha also had great faith in God and a deep understanding of the Bible and spiritual matters. Martha was a rare woman who had the opportunity to talk with Jesus about a miraculous spiritual truth that even the Jewish Rabbis didn’t understand – about resurrection.
As for Mary, the youngest, she was mesmerized by Jesus’ teachings. She would often offer up her time to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to the words He spoke. God certified that she had chosen the good portion, a portion that no one could ever take away from her. Mary also served Jesus with the most valuable thing she had, a very expensive jar of perfume; it cost a year’s wages, the portion of a bride’s dowry. She broke the jar of perfume to anoint the body of Jesus before He died. There were many other women who brought jars of perfume with them, but the opportunity to anoint Him was gone – Jesus had risen from the land of the dead to life. But Mary came at the right time and chose to take hold of this unique opportunity. Jesus said: “She has done a beautiful thing to me.” and “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Every act of service has its reward from God, but every act of service also demands a price: With Mary it was the ridicule of those around her, even of the disciples. With Martha it was the sweat of her hard work. With Lazarus it was taking risks and being bold as he proclaimed his support of Jesus regardless of what the community around him thought. But the amazing thing is that even though we must pay a price, not one of those who love God would not want to continue serving Him. It’s as if this service is an indispensable truth to them. Yes, we must serve, because Jesus first served us.
Serving God will become a great desire in your hearts if you love God and understand His Word. You will never be able to love God without wanting to serve Him.