Am I a Mary or a Martha? I would say I'm both.
These sisters intrigue me. Sometimes, I'm a Martha, serving others—especially during family events or holidays. Then during the wintry days of January, all I want to do is sit at Jesus' feet and be a Mary.
Since the Bible teaches balance, what’s the balance between these two sisters’ actions? Why did Jesus rebuke the sister who served him fish on a platter with figs? And why did He refuse to tell her sister to help?
Luke gives us a glimpse into this family who loved Jesus and supported His ministry. They hosted many gatherings in their home for Jesus and His followers. On this occasion, Jesus is brought into a family squabble when one sister gets upset with the other.
My imagination sees Martha clanging pottery in the kitchen, trying to get Mary’s attention. Or giving her looks behind the Lord’s back that could kill. Finally, Martha, with her hand on her hip, tells Jesus to tell her sister, who’s sitting at His feet, to help her.
I’ve been there. Hosting a party or holiday dinner, getting in over my head, and then expecting my husband to help me get it done before our guests arrived. He sat without a care in the world, watching television and oblivious to the cloth napkins that needed to be ironed and the ring in the guest bathroom toilet.
But I finally learned: I created my own work. I’m not saying husbands or children shouldn’t help; I’m just saying they don’t have to rescue us from ourselves. That’s why Jesus scolded Martha. He lovingly tells her she is fussing and fuming to get everything perfect and exhausting herself over matters that will pass away. Jesus loved them both, but Mary chose the good part: yearning to cultivate a relationship with Jesus.
We don’t have to be a Mary or a Martha. We can be both at the same time by serving others with love and joy that result from the peace in our heart that passes all understanding.
Why not serve like Martha and love like Mary?
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