Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mary and Martha

There are several stories in the Bible involving Mary and Martha. These usually leave me feeling uneasy. You see, I identify with Martha. Martha is the busy one, the one getting things done. She works hard and is practical. She doesn't allow herself to feel too much emotion or to get caught up in the moment. Mary, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to be with Jesus. She hangs on his every word. She risks scandal to be with him and show him how much she loves him. I'm a Martha I see all sorts of things to criticize in the Mary's of this world. However, secretly I envy them. I envy the trusting relationship between Mary and Jesus. I am jealous of her desire to sit at Jesus' feet and just listen to him. I wish I could be vulnerable like her. I wish I could be like Mary, but I'm a Martha. I will never be a Mary, but I can become the best Martha that I am able. Serving out of heart instead of obligation. Letting go of my comparison with Mary, I can be just as close to Jesus as Mary. I wrote this poem about Martha.

My Name is Martha

My name is Martha
Cooking, cleaning, serving
My duty
Acclaimed, spotless house
My pride
Hearty kosher meals
My joy

Jesus, Rabbi, Friend
A most auspicious guest
My chance
Unparalleled feast
My worth
Lifetime opportunity
My wealth

There is too much work
Where is Mary?
My help
Wasting time, abandoning
My anger
“Master, tell my sister!”
My justification

“Martha, Martha, Martha,
What do you do?”
My self-righteousness
Your sister chose better
My indignation
You should have done the same
My shame

My name is Martha
My service
Just busy expectations
My heart
Focused on myself
My redemption
Messiah’s sacrifice


  1. You too, huh? I too am much more of a Martha than a Mary. Secretly I think Jesus probably would never have been invited over to their house if Martha hadn't gone out and done it. ... Well, actually, the Bible doesn't tell us how he ended up there. But I'm sure he wouldn't have had such a good meal without her. We Marthas just have to be careful not to criticize and use our gifts to His glory, as you've said here.

  2. We Marthas are important, but sometimes we need to rearrange our priorities. Thanks for your comment.

  3. I long to be a Mary, but it just doesn't come. I agree that rearranging our priorities is needed, but it is just plain hard.