Are you a Mary or Martha? (plus a Freebie)

Which woman of the Bible do you identify with? That was the title of the online quiz. I knew the answer before I even took the quiz, yet I did anyway.

The score confirmed my suspensions. I identify with Martha. Shocker.

“She [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her’ ” (Luke 10:39-42).

I love this story. Jesus and his disciples had gathered at Lazarus, Martha, and Mary’s house at mealtime. Martha was frantic, running around preparing food for a house full of guests. She was stressing out.

Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t helping prepare the large meal. Mary was sitting on the floor, at Jesus’ feet, listening to what he had to say.

In Martha’s eyes, Mary was literally sitting on her butt while she did all the hard work. I mean, Martha would love to sit around listening to Jesus, but then, who would feed all these people? It’s not like she could order up a pizza for delivery!

Like me, Martha sounds like she was a planner. She was a doer. She was a worrier. She was the one who invited Jesus and his disciples in at mealtime. She was a hostess, welcoming friends even when they arrive unexpectedly.

I would guess Martha is the older sister of Mary. She takes on the responsibility of getting things done. She may put this responsibility on herself, or possibly because she was the oldest, this was what had been expected her whole life, I can’t be sure.

Based on my very scientific research of being an older sister, and watching my oldest daughter in action, I would say it’s a little bit of all of the above. Martha was probably practical and felt a responsibility to take care of others. It was her job to keep everyone in line, doing their part. And she got irritated when she felt she was doing it all and Mary was not helping. Seriously, Jesus, make her help!

But Jesus says to Martha, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part…”

The good part. 

Mary chose the good part of hearing what Jesus, her Savior, had to say.

free bible resources

We make choices every day. “Busy” is what we all say we are. We choose to be distracted in the kitchen of life rather than choosing the good part. People are different, and some of us have to fight our ‘natural selves’ to make those good choices.

Being a Martha isn’t easy. There is so much to do, like vacuuming. Jesus’ response to Martha tells us we should “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness …” (Matthew 6:33).

Of course, things still need to get done. Martha knew this. Mary knew that sometimes choosing not to do something is just as important. Because it shouldn’t be all or nothing.

The lesson is this: It’s all about balance. We shouldn’t let our to-do list and over-busy schedule keep us from the good part. There is a time and place for each. Just stop for a moment to see which is the good part.  And, it’s always okay to order pizza once in a while so we can get to the good part sooner.

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Bible color coding bookmark

Here is the second freebie in my Have Faith Studio Bible Journaling Series! Color-coding verses in the Bible is a tool that helps us slow down and understand what we are reading. Download this free bookmark (click the image above) color-coding key. The color and theme choices are yours. I have given you some ideas, but really you can choose anything that enriches your time with the Lord.

(Highlighters pictured available at The Daily Grace Co.)

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