“And when she [Martha] had so said, she went her way, and called her sister [Mary] secretly, saying, The Master is come and calleth for thee.” (John 11:28)
Call it nitpicking, if you will, but for the life of me, I can’t see anywhere in this passage where Jesus actually called for Mary. And, as a matter of fact, when she did finally go to Him, I don’t find Him saying anything to her personally. As you recall, it was Martha who dashed out the door when she heard that Jesus was coming, while it was Mary who “sat still in the house” (v. 20). Martha did indeed have a conversation with the Lord, as recorded in verses twenty-one through twenty-seven; but, as I say, I can’t find within them anything that would have occasioned her conspiratorial (“secretly”) message to her sister. Of course, Jesus could have sent Martha with the summons, and the Holy Spirit just did not inspire John to record it; but to simply assume that He did takes a lot for granted, it would seem to me.
But if Jesus didn’t really send for Mary, why would Martha say He did? I honestly don’t see malice of any kind in her actions, any more than I see it in those among us today who feel constrained to hand deliver, as it were, a call from God to the rest of us. They take for granted, it would seem, that the motivation that fires them is (or should be) present in you and me and should manifest itself in the same way. To do otherwise would indicate a lack of dedication to God. But wait; where was Martha when her sister Mary was anointing the Lord with ointment and washing His feet with her hair (v.2)? Why didn’t she rush out to do that? Do you see what I mean?
The truth is, it is possible for other people to sweep us up in their own enthusiasm to the point that God’s will for our own lives gets drowned out by all the excitement. Don’t forget, God seldom speaks in whirlwinds; so we’d better have our spiritual earphones on, listening for His “still, small voice” (1 Kings 19). And you can mark this down—bold, plain and clear: When the Master wants you…He’ll call for you!