Martha and Mary
Two interesting sisters in the Bible are Martha and Mary. They are well known as the sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, and that story is an interesting one to read. But there is another story about these two sisters that is more relevant to our daily lives.
In Luke chapter 10, we read the story of a time when Jesus and his disciples visited the home of Martha and Mary. While Martha is running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to prepare the meal and make everything perfect for her visitors, Mary sits at the feet of Jesus listening to what he has to say. This upsets Martha because Mary is not helping her. But when she complains to Jesus, he replies, “Martha, Martha, 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.”
Martha is a human doing, Mary is a human being. The latter is what God created us to be. In Psalm 46:10, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” To be sure, there are things that need to be done. There are hungry to be fed, homeless to be housed, naked to be clothed. But this story of Martha and Mary tells me that we should not “worry” about these things. We must first sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. It is in this place that we gain the wisdom and strength that we need to do the work God has put before us.
I’ve always identified more with Mary. I like to spend time thinking about God, faith, and life. But lately I’ve found that I have been more like Martha. It seems like I am always doing, doing, doing. I’ve volunteered for so many things at church and work, and taken on so many tasks at home, that I don’t have time to stop and think. As a result, I have found that I am exhausted. A friend at church said two weeks ago, referring to me, “I don’t know how she does all the things she does.” And suddenly it hit me that I was trying to do too much without taking time between tasks to pray and meditate with my Savior. Instead of bringing all my concerns to God and letting him give me the strength and wisdom I need, I was worrying about everything and trying to just do it all myself.
So who do you identify with? Martha or Mary? I’m going to try to be more like Mary again.
But, if all were Mary’s, who would teach the children in Sunday school; set out communion for the faithful; compose and print the bulletins; feed, clothe, teach our own children at our own homes; earn the money necessary to run our own households AND give to the poor? Seems like the Mary part is so much easier, but if everyone thought it was the more important role, how would things get done on this earth?
True, we can’t all be Mary all of the time. But I do think if we aren’t all a bit like Mary at least some of the time, we spend too much time worrying about the tasks we have to complete in our role as Martha and grow weary in doing them. If we spend a little time as Mary did at the feet of Jesus we then have more joy in the work He has planned for us to do. It’s all about balance.
Thanks for commenting. 🙂