Advertisement

Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

Despicable You? No, Not True.

Quiet, thoughtful, meditative — those are Mary qualities, we say. Gathering Thoughts, original oil painting by Steve Henderson; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Are you a Mary? Or a Martha?

Actually, it’s a dumb question, especially if you’re male, but if you’re female and you’re in an emotionally charged women’s Bible study focusing on your inhibitions and failures, doubts, anxieties, insecurities, and foibles, you might have to answer this question in a group.

Advertisement

If you don’t want to, that’s fine with me. Personally, I’m not a Mary or a Martha, I’m a Carolyn — a very specific Carolyn — and I really don’t like being categorized or compartmentalized or slotted into little holes. These means that I don’t fit well in groups, but you knew that anyway.

Mary and Martha

In  the Bible, Mary and Martha were two sisters who were noted for 1) being very different from one another and 2) living with their brother Lazarus, who spent a few days in a tomb, dead, before he was called back to life by Jesus.  Jesus spent a significant amount of time with the family, and one gets the idea that they were dear friends.

Advertisement

In this article, we’re going to talk about point number 1 — the differences between Mary and Martha — and what that means for you. Because these two women were, well, women, they are frequently trotted out to half the population of the planet as object lessons, and the object of the lesson is this:

In Luke 10: 38-42, we are told that Martha invited Jesus and His disciples into her home, and while she was busy bustling about doing . . . bustling-about things, her sister Mary was decidedly not helping, because she was sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening.

“But Martha was distracted by all the preparation that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'”

Advertisement

Martha Has a Point, You Know

Now as the mother of a decent-sized brood, I’m fully in agreement with Martha, and I always thought that Mary could have gotten off her little patootie and helped, that is, if anyone were interested in eating, but Jesus replied:

“‘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.'”

The same person who can be quiet and meditative one moment, can be outspoken and expressive — Martha-esque — the next. Aphrodite, original painting by Steve Henderson, sold; licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas.

Advertisement

I’m glad that they were ordering take-out.

And yes, I do know that the point driven in is that we need to slow down, quit fussing, don’t stress, and focus on Jesus, not the exigencies of life, but I also know this:

Mary is not “better” than Martha, and if you have a tendency to look, and act, like Martha, you are not “inferior” to the Mary’s in your life. John 11: 3, which records the raising of Lazarus, says,

“Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”

What’s most striking about this verse is that Mary isn’t even named, but Martha is. This doesn’t at all mean that Jesus discounts the worth of Mary, but it does imply something about Martha’s worth in Jesus’ eyes:

Advertisement

Jesus. Loved. Martha.

With all her anxiety, fussing, bustling, and distraction: Jesus. Loved. Martha.

“Where WERE You?”

Subsequent verses to this story show Martha heading out to meet Jesus directly (while Mary stayed at home), and telling Him,

“If you had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11: 21)

Eleven verses later, Mary says exactly the same thing.

When we get down to what really matters — losing a dearly beloved person in life — the two sisters were in complete agreement: they hurt, and they wondered why the One Person who could have prevented the whole thing, didn’t.

Advertisement

Are you Mary — sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening? Or are you Martha — striding out to meet Him, blurting out, “I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask,” (John 11: 22), a statement of faith that is as profound and wise as Mary’s attitude of listening and learning.

You’re not Mary, and you’re not Martha, my friend — you’re you, a complex soup of emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. God knows your name, He knows what makes you tick, and He. Loves. You.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity where I want you, my friend, to grow closer and closer to the real Christ, not the substitute that we frequently put up with, simply because that’s what we’re taught. He’s real, He’s caring, He’s compassionate, and He won’t consign you to hell if you swear at the cat. He knows you mess up — that’s why you need Him so much.

Advertisement

Posts similar to this one are

Your Learning Curve, as a Christian

Child of God: You Are Much Beloved

Should Christians Think?

 

  • Pingback: Anxious and Troubled about Many Things - Commonsense Christianity

  • M Jernigan

    Your post reminds me of when I told God that I’m glad that He doesn’t freak out and leave me when my emotions are all over the place during testing and trials. He created me just the way I am…full of a range of emotions.

  • Carolyn Henderson

    Scale Lily — isn’t it funny how, if you have more than one child, that the two — especially — are so DIFFERENT from one another? Sometimes, I swear that they have different mothers, only I was there at the birth and I’m sure I’m the same person.

    The beauty of it is how we can learn from one another, and there is no “better” way that is better all the time.

    So true, as you say, that we can forget Christ’s love in all the busyness. It’s easy to feel that, it doesn’t matter WHAT we’re doing, as long as we’re doing, and it’s hard to get out of that trap.

  • http://thiswomanwrites.areavoices.com/ Carolyn Henderson

    Scale Lily — isn’t it funny how, if you have more than one child, that the two — especially — are so DIFFERENT from one another? Sometimes, I swear that they have different mothers, only I was there at the birth and I’m sure I’m the same person.

    The beauty of it is how we can learn from one another, and there is no “better” way that is better all the time.

    So true, as you say, that we can forget Christ’s love in all the busyness. It’s easy to feel that, it doesn’t matter WHAT we’re doing, as long as we’re doing, and it’s hard to get out of that trap.

  • Scale Lily

    They sound like my daughters, but it often switches between the two. Lily is more inclined to stop in the middle of chores to regard a beetle, and then completely forget about her chores. It is also easy to get so involved in God’s supposed work that we leave out the substance of Christ’s love.

Previous Posts

Three "Christian" Teachings That Jesus Didn't Teach
"For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine . . . and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 This week's assault on Facebook is 2 Timothy 4:3-4, with assorted memes ...

posted 11:45:01am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

How Come God Never Speaks Directly to You?
"Then the voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" 1 Kings 19:13 I'm sure many of you have had the experience of someone accosting you and announcing, [caption id="attachment_1803" align="alignleft" width="351"] Frequently, ...

posted 11:30:31am Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Does Jesus Get Mad When We Complain?
"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7 Some of the most insensitive sayings, passed on via social media memes, are posted by people who call themselves Christians. There is a lamentable desire to encapsulate ...

posted 1:51:31pm Aug. 19, 2015 | read full post »

When Christian Leaders Say, "Jump!" Do We Leap?
"If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you." James 1:5 For many years, my literary junk food was celebrity people magazines. Once every two weeks I headed to the ...

posted 12:51:02pm Aug. 14, 2015 | read full post »

How to Recognize a False Prophet
"Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matthew 24:11) Recently I ran across a blog from a mega-pastor who was refuting the teachings of another mega-pastor. Mega-Pastor B had some decent things to say about grace, mercy, ...

posted 1:41:02pm Aug. 07, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.