Mary + Martha

If you are not familiar with the story of these sisters, take a minute and read this:

“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” {Luke 10:38-42}

Basically, Martha was too busy being the hostess with the mostest, yet missed out on spending quality time with Jesus. Meanwhile, Mary was all about sitting at His feet, leaving her sister to do all the hosting. Did I mention Jesus had twelve surely hungry men disciples with Him?

Most of the times I have heard different teachings on this passage, it usually concludes in something like we need to be a little more Mary and a little less Martha.  However, I want to challenge that. I don’t believe we need to choose whether we will be Mary or Martha; rather, when will we be Mary and when will we be Martha.

While the one essential thing was to sit at the feet of Jesus, I am sure all those men appreciated a warm meal and a place to rest after all that traveling. It is true, nothing is more important than the act of being present and loving on people through conversation and quality time. Nonetheless, I believe Martha’s error was not taking her time in the kitchen, but rather making it the main point. She was obviously overwhelmed and had lost the right heart motive. Perhaps if Mary had taken a couple of minutes to help Martha, they could have whipped something up together and then enjoyed the company in their home. I believe balance could have been key in both instances. And the truth is that hundreds of years later many of us find ourselves struggling {for a lack of better term} to properly understand and balance either one of these approaches.

Have you defined yourself as a Martha? Constantly doing and stressing when it comes to opening your home and being hospitable? Are you so busy trying to make it all work that you are missing out on just being with Jesus? It’s time to put it all down and rest.  I promise a refreshing freedom is found when we stop trying to do it all. I would encourage you to check your heart and begin to allow yourself to be on the receiving end of the hospitality of others .

Are you a consistent Mary? You don’t want to miss a single second with those around you; always present and ready to listen. I want to encourage you to put your love towards others into more tangible action. Be careful not to use your position at His feet as a comfort zone you would rather not step out because ‘someone else has it covered’. We are all called to serve and, therefore, we all have the ability to be hospitable. Simply start with what you have, meeting people where they are.

Both of these women had incredible gifts, and whether you identified as Mary or Martha, one is not greater than the other. My prayer is that you would be encouraged to find the best of both and, as the Spirit leads, work that balance out in your heart.





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