The popular Mary and Martha Story teaches us three important practical lessons about setting priorities in life.
The Mary and Martha Story
Let us now read the Mary and Martha story, two women who opened their home to Jesus as He traveled with His disciples, but each had a different response to their guest.
3 Practical Lessons from the Mary and Martha Story
Although Martha and Mary were sisters, they had quite the opposite personalities. Martha was driven by perfectionism, while Mary was driven by excellence. Martha was probably an extrovert who was so preoccupied with the tasks at hand that she lost sight of the spiritual things Jesus was talking about. Mary was probably an introvert who was intuitive and listened to Christ with great interest and concentration leaving her sister to complete the work of preparing the food. Mary was delighted to sit at the feet of the Master and learn from Him the truths that were explained simply, yet so effective.
First Lesson from the Mary and Martha Story — God First
The Mary and Martha story is about two women who loved Christ dearly. Mary is a picture of devotion and commitment to Christ and His teachings. She chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus and learns from the Living Word before she goes out to serve others in His name. Martha is more a picture of the distracted follower of Christ, who is devoted to the chores than soaking up a deep connection with Jesus. Her work is more important to her, and having welcomed Jesus into her house chose to neglect to spent time with Him and did not enjoy the joy of His presence.
The Mary and Martha story encourages us to spend valuable time with God every day, studying the Bible, praying to Him, praising Him, and following the instructions given by Him. Though Martha’s actions were good, her behavior was based on feeling and away from the Word of God. She showed her love to Jesus by serving Him but ignored His presence in the process. We should be like Mary, who loved the Word of God and knew it is better to be occupied with Christ than to be occupied for Christ.
Second Lesson from the Mary and Martha Story — Balance of Worship and Service
The Mary and Martha story illustrates that Jesus desires both the worship of Mary and the work of Martha. Christ first acknowledges that Martha’s feelings are real, anxious, and bothered, but it is about too many things. He addresses the fact that even with Mary in the kitchen, Martha will still be worried, because Mary cannot take care of everything for her. Jesus addresses the overwhelming feeling of Martha but does not tell her she is wrong or that Mary should go help her sister. He says that Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Mary’s love for Jesus seeking the riches of wisdom and understanding that He gives makes everything else of secondary importance to her. Martha wanted to treat the people whom she invited to her home as special as possible. She took the role of a hostess very seriously to honor her guests. Her hospitality was an act of discipleship. She served in love but did not keep Jesus as the front and center in all things. Remember, God gives us the ability to serve others efficiently when we give all the attention He deserves.
The Mary and Martha story demonstrates that there is a time and a place for everything. Jesus validates both worship and service and it should be in balance. We should first honor God and our love for Him will translate into serving and honoring others. Our actions come from learning God’s truths and applying them to our lives. Mary and Martha played their roles sincerely and their actions were valuable and served a purpose.
Third Lesson from the Mary and Martha Story — When You are Struggling, Go Straight To God
In the Mary and Martha story, Martha complains to Jesus that He does not care that her sister left her to do all the work and asks Jesus to sent her to help in the preparations. Martha feels that she is being treated unfairly and she wastes no time in going to the Master who can fix things. She knew whom to approach when she was disgruntled and inconvenienced.
Jesus being the Highest Authority does not rebuke Martha and accepts her as she is, a practical, impulsive, and short-tempered person. However, Martha was a remarkably generous woman who deserves substantial credit as she managed her affairs as the head of the household, which was quite rare in the days of Jesus on earth.
The Mary and Martha story teaches us that we should be like Martha when we face problems or issues. We should go straight to the Almighty God, and not look to people for solving our issues. Jesus is the wisest of all, and He does not get offended when you are disoriented amid trauma and anxiety. Our God is strong and powerful, and He longs to hear about the troubles or difficulties we are facing. When we pray He hears us, when we drift He reaches out to us when we take a wrong direction He leads us to the right path, and when we stumble He lifts us. Jesus is our perfect friend and brother, who is accessible, loving, and always eager to help.
Final Thoughts on the Mary and Martha Story
Some of us tend to be more like Martha, while some of us resemble Mary. We should imbibe the qualities of both the sisters. We must not let our busy lives and acts of service distract us from spending time with Jesus and listening to His word. Jesus admonished Martha for being worried and upset, and not for serving. Though service is a good thing, sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His teachings is best. Always remember that listening, learning, and growing strong in the Word of God are most important.
The Mary and Martha Story teaches us that our stories are different. Each one of us has our own story to live, and we do not share the same ending. We should never compare our story to another person. Only the author of our stories is the same person, Jesus Christ. The Mary and Martha story inspires us to align our priorities and choices to our true inner calling. We should not focus so much on serving that we miss the more valuable time spend with God.
We must begin our day with God and end it with Him.
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