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The biblical story of Mary and Martha has been read and heard by many for countless years. And we’re still talking about these two sisters today. This familiar passage of Scripture gives us the illustration of two siblings who both loved the Lord Jesus, but when He came for a visit, they had two different reactions. One was busy and one was still. The question of the hour is are you More Like Mary or Martha in this season of your life?
Let’s read the account of this story found in Luke 10:38-42 before we go any further:
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
The key word that stood out to me was, “distracted.” What word or words stood out to you the most within this particular passage of Scripture? Think about that for a brief moment. Personally, my heart’s desire is to spend time with the Lord when I wake up in the morning. I long to spend uninterrupted time with Jesus at the start of my day.
But…sometimes my reality is a flood of thoughts surrounding the emails that I need to send out (or respond to) as I’m reading the Bible. Sometimes I start thinking about my To-Do-List while I’m journaling. Sometimes when I’m in prayer, my mind shifts from praise to sharing my long list of things that I’d like for Him to do for me. And sometimes, as I’m trying to read and study the Word of God, I get easily distracted with the alerts on my phone shouting, “Check your social media accounts and engage in conversations that are happening right now!”
Have you ever experienced any of this? Guilty? Or am I the only one?
On the flip side, Jesus is calling us to silence the noise, quench the thoughts, focus on the words that He’s trying to impart in us, and just be still to hear and talk to Him. And listen. There is nothing wrong with any of the things mentioned in the previous paragraph. But there is a time for all of that. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
So, there is a time to work, answer emails, engage on social media, check off the boxes on the To-Do-List. And it’s totally okay to share our heart’s desires with the Lord, while preparing things as Martha did. It’s also okay to grind when it’s grind time on an assignment, deadline, or project.
Jesus isn’t saying, “Don’t work or prepare.” But what He is showing us through this passage is that when He visits us or desires to spend time with us or teach us something (in whatever way that looks like for us), that’s when it’s time to know when to stop and be still.
Jesus, the Master Teacher, wanted to teach Mary and Martha that day. Mary got it! But Martha was too distracted and too busy doing all-the-things for Jesus. Sounds familiar?
Jesus was calling for stillness, not busyness.
One of the key lessons here is that when the King of Kings wants to spend time with you, lay it all down and go and learn from Him, my sister. In other words, when He calls, that’s when you need to be sensitive to His Spirit and pause on the work that you’re doing, so that you can receive what the Lord is trying to get to you in the season that you’re in.
It may be listening for direction, wisdom, or peace. It may be coming closer to receive comfort, encouragement, understanding of His Word, or knowledge of what’s taking place in our world. It may be Him wanting to remind you of His great love and care for you. It may be a reminder or whisper to trust Him. Whatever it is, when you feel the Holy Spirit quickening you to be more like Mary, pause and be still. And when He quickens you to prepare to work like Martha, by all means go for it. Just know the difference. 😉
As I prepare to close, I want to go back to the original question. Who are you more like in this season? Are you more like Mary or Martha? Or are you a mix of both? I’d love to know. I actually created a quiz surrounding this very inquiry. I think this will be a fun and great little exercise of personal reflection towards finding that good balance between work and listening to the One who longs to spend time with you. Take a moment to take the quiz.
Recommended Resource: “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver.
Remember that Jesus Christ is coming back soon. And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So, let’s be ready from the Inside Out!
Question: Are you more like Mary or Martha in this season? Let me know.
***WATCH MY SHORT YOUTUBE VIDEO here on “Being a Mary in a Martha World.”
Also, if you need prayer, you can email me directly and I will pray for you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Courtnaye Richard is the founder of Inside Out with Courtnaye, a ministry that helps women grow in their walk with Christ from the heart and equips them to fulfill their God-given purpose. She is also the author of the book, IDENTIFIED: Knowing Who You Are in Christ and Moving Forward in Your Purpose. Courtnaye is married with three beautiful children and is a contributing writer for ibelieve.com, Women’s Ministry Tools, speaker of a host of women’s conferences, and her blog reaches thousands of women across the globe. She resides in the beautiful Texas Hill Country (outside of Austin, Texas).
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