Martha, Martha

Luke 10:38 – 42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

“Are you a Mary or a Martha?” I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked that question. This story seems to be one of the earliest examples of a personality profile. Everyone must fit into one category or another, right? And of course, we all want to be like Mary. After all, she earned the praise of the King of Kings.

But something deep inside me wants to say, Wait a minute! Where would we be without the Marthas of this world? If we were all like Mary, nothing would ever get done!

I have never been able to place myself in either category. Truly, I am both a Mary and a Martha, and I’ll bet you are too. Mary – the thoughtful, introspective dreamer; easily distracted; can often be found singing and dancing in a field of daisies. Martha – the practical servant; goal-oriented; is a mover and a shaker; she gets things done.

I don’t think Jesus was saying that it is good to be like Mary all the time. Rather, He wanted Martha to get her priorities straight. Yes, there was work to be done. But it could wait. It wasn’t every day that either woman had opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet.

Certainly, there were days when Mary needed to be more like her sister. But in this story, Martha needed to settle down, relax, and let the housework go for a bit. She needed to sit at her Savior’s feet.

As I read about these two women, I’m reminded that I must stay on top of my priorities. In order to be a productive, well-balanced person, I need to have some Mary moments and some Martha moments. And the more consistently I sit at my Savior’s feet, the more productive I will be in all areas of my life.

Dear Father, Please help me to find balance as I strive to work for You and worship You.


3 Responses to Martha, Martha

  1. December 19, 2008 #

    I like being a Martha! She’s the one who got Jesus and told him her brother had died. She was bold and concerned. But what I’ve noticed about the story is that Jesus loved the whole family — Mary, Martha and Lazarus. He saw something neat in each of them. He’d experienced LIFE with each of them to include the saddest moments. They must have been quite a family, because through them, we get a rare glimpse into Jesus’s true humanity. He WAS one of us!

  2. December 19, 2008 #

    Balance. It seems to be a recurrent theme in my Pastor’s messages. He believes we need to live balanced lives. Like you said, Renae, there is a time to flutter from detail to detail, and a time to sit in silence and absorb the radiant Sonshine in our lives.

    I hope this Christmas Season doesn’t bring out the “Martha” in you and me. I hope it calls me to sit at Jesus’ feet and adore Him.

    Merry Christmas,

  3. December 19, 2008 #

    Good point, Anne. Isn’t it great that He created us, and He loves each and every unique personality?

    I think you’re a pretty cool Martha, by the way.

    And Jean, that’s a great goal. Let’s decide together that we’re going to relax this Christmas, and just enjoy our families and thoughts of our wonderful Savior. Like you said, we’ll just sit at His feet and adore Him.

    (((Hugs))) to you both.

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