Being a Mary in a Martha world

“Hi, my name is Spicy and I am too busy for Jesus.”

Okay, I feel much better now that I have taken the first step. In all honesty, I am hoping that God opens my own eyes as I write this blog to something that I need to confront and fix. I am a Martha. I could be Martha from the Bible. If Hollywood were to cast the role of Martha in a blockbuster movie, I could play the lead. I am a shoe in for the job. I am so absorbed in the busyness of the day that I don’t take the time like I should to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to him. I realized for a period of time that I had been neglecting God’s word, I made time before bed to read each night, but as time goes on, I get busy before bedtime and skip a night….then two…and before you know it, I am back to being out of God’s word again.

So here I am, facing the same problem again and writing a blog on it. What an expert I am. Like I said earlier, I am hoping that God’s wisdom will come out of my fingers here as I type to give me some insight on what I *should* be doing instead of what I feel like I *have* to do.

Our story today takes us to the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha of Bethany. Martha always opened her home to Jesus and his disciples when they were in town. But of course when she has visitors, that means a lot of work! While Mary sat at the feet of the Lord, Martha was very busy and distracted by all the work that she needed to do for her guests. Finally in frustration, Martha came to Jesus and told him, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40b)

The Lord, Jesus lovingly told her, “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.” (Luke 10:41-42)

My husband did some cleaning of a bookcase of ours (yes, my husband is awesome, isn’t he?) and he came upon a book that I forgot I had. Of course, since it wasn’t a family heirloom (to him), he put it in the pile to go to storage. I rescued it from that fate! The book was a bible study that I did with a group of friends a long time ago, called Women of the Bible by Jean E. Syswerda. In the section she writes and asks questions about Martha, she lists the following things about tasks that kept women busy during the day from that time period. She lists the following:

*grinding grain for bread, then mixing, kneading and baking the bread for the day.

*purchasing meat at a market or preparing an animal from the household’s flock for meat to eat, then cooking that meat.

*carding, spinning and weaving threads of various kinds to make cloth for clothing, bedding and other household uses.

*sewing clothes for household members

*drawing the water for each day’s requirements.

*cleaning the house

*washing the utensils and dishes used in meal preparation and eating

*washing the family’s clothes

*teaching and disciplining and loving the children in the household.

Okay, let’s compare that to the modern woman’s day….

*wake up at 6am. Shower and get dressed

*wake the kids up, get them dressed and breakfast. Pack all the lunches for the day. *Wake the husband (if necessary)

*take the kids to school

*go to work from 9-5

*make dinner

*wash the dishes from breakfast and dinner

*check the kid’s homework, sign practice records

*get the kids their baths

*read bedtime stories and get the kids in bed

*clean up the house a bit

*go grocery shopping while hubby is at home with the kids

*get ready for bed

Both schedules look very busy, and honestly, if my husband looked at list #2, he’d say that he does most of that (which is true…but we’re not a typical family…didn’t I tell you he was awesome?) But for most women, wouldn’t you agree that schedule is true? Where in the world do you fit in time for reading your Bible?

Martha was the utmost hostess. She wanted the room Jesus stayed in to be clean, with nice fresh linens on the bed, the pillow fluffed just right, and everything ready to go for him. She wanted to make the best meal possible for him, after all, he is Jesus, ya know? She wanted her house to look neat and tidy for her guests. She was just downright busy! Whereas, the harder she worked for Jesus, the more frustrated she became at her sister, Mary. What was Mary doing, sitting there among the men listening to Jesus? Wasn’t her place to be helping with all the preparations? Couldn’t she see how hard Martha was working? Why wasn’t she helping?? Oh, I can hear all the voices in her head making her angrier and angrier at her sister. Finally, she just goes straight to Jesus and asks him to tell Mary to help her! And what does Jesus say? 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.”

Was he telling her that a woman’s work is not important? No, of course not. But Jesus didn’t need a 7 course meal for dinner. Something simple would be perfect for the man who fed 5,000 people with 5 fish and 2 loaves. What he wanted was Martha’s time. He wanted Martha to take the time to sit at his feet and listen to him. He wanted to have a closer relationship with her. He wanted her to take the time to really get to know him. She was so absorbed in her works, that she couldn’t see what she was missing from her Savior. He wanted her to put HIM first in her life, not the things she could do for him. But did you notice one thing about Martha and Jesus? Martha was very frank with him. She did know him well enough to say what was on her mind without mincing words.

Jesus is more interested in our souls. He loves us and what he really wants is our time. He wants us to make time to get to know him intimately. He wants us to understand the depth of his love for us. He made the ultimate sacrifice for us, and all he asks in return is that we get to know him better and to strive to be more like him. How else can we learn to be more like him then to spend time in his word daily?

My challenge is not only to you, but to myself as well. In your busy, everyday world, it is so easy to be a Martha, to get wrapped up in all that you have to do, and we forget to make time to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn more about him. Take your busy schedule. Write it on a piece of paper. Find a time of the day where you book time to be with Jesus. Mary did.

Can you change from a Martha to a Mary? I challenge you to do this. I’ll start…..

“Hi, my name is Spicy and I will make time daily for Jesus.”


  1. Thank you for this post. I only just got married a little over a month ago. I’ve been overwhelmed with all the changes and putting together two lives into one. Thank you for this reminder. I’m going to go spend time with the Lord right now.

    Working on being a Mary.

  2. Stephanie, congratulations on your recent marriage! I am working, too. I need more work….and I’ve been married almost 14 years….

  3. Thanks, your writing inspired me. I am a mom of two children.
    I wrote a poem to be still and to be a Mary in a Martha’s world.

    kind regards.


  4. I am in tears reading this. I just happened on this Mary vs. Martha blog today. Thank you so much for writing it! It is exactly what I needed be reminded of at this moment in my life. What a Martha I have let myself become.
    Now, as much of a God-send as it is, I am going to get off of CN and the computer right now and pick up my Bible!

  5. Even though you wrote this over a year ago, it’s exactly what I needed to hear today. I feel like the Lord lead me to this post this morning. I make time for everything else in life–such as reading blog after blog–and don’t take time to do the reading that matters most.

    Time to get back in the Word.

    Thank you!

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