Women of the Bible

How to be a Mary in a Martha world

I would bet most of us would answer the question do you serve or worship with I do both. Have you ever done one more so than the other? There needs to be a good balance in our spiritual life just as in daily life with work, kids, spouse, etc… Mary and Martha are examples for us as women of how we can get too caught up in a task when we should be doing another.

Their Story

There story takes place in Luke 10:38-42, John: 11:1-44, 12:1-8.  Jesus visited their house 3 times in scripture.  The first time was He was coming over for Dinner and Martha became upset that Mary wasn’t helping prepare the meal.  After some time Martha let her displeasure be known, but Jesus told her that Mary was the one who was in the right and that she should follow her example. Martha should slow down and sit and listen at the feet of the Savior. The spiritual health of a person is more important than running around the kitchen.

The second time he comes to their house it was to raise Lazarus from the dead. Both women said “Lord, if only you had been here my brother would not have died”. Jesus wept in this section of scripture but was also angry.  Scripture isn’t too clear what had angered him but I would guess the women’s lack of belief. He does ask Martha if she believes in him and she answers yes. Jesus looks up to heaven says a prayer and tells Lazarus to “come out!” and he came grave clothes and all!

The third time Jesus comes to visit Mary anoints his feet with an expensive perfume. Judas, who was with him on this trip, says that the money used for the perfume should have been used to feed the poor.  The perfume cost a year’s wages for that time. Jesus told him to “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me”. NLT

Application for Today

  • Mary and Martha are different in their approaches but both love Jesus in their own way. We can all find traits of each woman in us.  There have been times that I have been much too task oriented (just like Martha) and have had to pull back in church activities. It is a difficult thing for me to say no or take time off.  When I do I feel like I can focus more on my worship/quiet time. There needs to be a balance of activities and worship. We are called to do both and knowing your spiritual gifts will help you to serve better.
  • There are also times when we need to have a large amount of faith in situations when it doesn’t seem like we will get through that illness, that life challenge, whatever seems to be impossible. We focus of all the obstacles in our way instead of God; who could raised people from the dead, healed the lame, blind, and sick.  God can move mountains, he tells the oceans where they may stop, and placed the stars so I think we can trust Him with all the events in our lives. God said we just have to have faith the size of a mustard seed, which isn’t big at all. Imagine what large faith could do!
  • When we worship we should give our all! I know there are days when I walk into church and it has been a task either getting to church, arguing with the kids to get out the door or what they are going to wear. We are in that season of life right now and I am already frustrated by the time I get there.  Mary gave a year’s worth of money for the bottle of perfume to be used on Jesus’ feet. When is the last time you gave all you had in worship? I challenge each of us to give your all the next time you are in a worship setting.  It can be in your car, on a hike, at church…where ever you find yourself.

We should all be a little of both Mary and Martha. Balance is key as with anything in life.

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