Many of us have tried to shed our efficiency or apologize for our drive to “do” because of the passage about Martha and Mary, in Luke 10:38-42.
Martha was busy in the kitchen getting ready for company while her sister Mary sat listening at Jesus’s feet.
Martha goes to Jesus and says:
Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. (Luke 10:40b, NIV)
And He responds:
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NIV)
For centuries, Martha has gotten a bad rap. But if you identify more with Martha than Mary, I have good news for you!
- Martha’s wiring to work was not the problem.
Jesus pointed out something that Martha needed to work on (not being so worried and distracted). But He was not criticizing the totality of who she was.
Jesus was inviting Martha to rest in who He was from a spiritual standpoint, even in the midst of meal prep.
Martha’s serving wasn’t the problem, it was her mentality while serving that Jesus addressed.
Jesus invited Martha to serve from a place of strength and peace instead of a place of striving and worry. But He wasn’t telling her to stop being a doer, He was reminding her that she was a daughter first and foremost.
- Martha was loved by Jesus.
Somehow I had overlooked the fact that Martha was loved by Jesus. But John 11:5 sets the record straight:
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
Martha wasn’t loved because of what she did but because she was His; a friend of Jesus.
Her works were fantastic but they weren’t what made her fantastic. Her worth was cemented into her cells before she could ever lift a finger or write a to-do list. And the same is true for you.
Jesus loves you—even when you are short-fused, whether or not you have a quiet time, even in the midst of tackling your to-do list.
- You can worship while we work.
In John 12:1-3, we see a beautiful display of worship:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
It seems that once again Mary is getting it right with her lavish display of worship at the feet of Jesus. But let’s not overlook Martha. She is found serving again but Jesus does not correct her this time.
I believe that Martha is worshipping while she works—serving from a place of gratitude instead of fret.
Sure, there is a time to sit and soak in His Presence—to raise our hands in praise. But we can also worship Jesus even when our hands are busy.
We don’t have to worship first and then work, we can worship while we work.
Are you working to try and earn Jesus’s love or are you working in a response to already being loved by Him?
Are you working to try and pay Him back or are you working because you are so thankful that Jesus paid for your sins on the Cross?
Whether you are sitting at His feet or serving up supper, worship Jesus—the One who completed the biggest to do of all time, out of His great love for you.
More about Made like Martha
An invitation for overachievers to discover what it means to rest as God’s daughters without compromising their God-given design as doers.
Though she didn’t sit at Jesus’s feet like her sister Mary, biblical Martha was loved just as she was–and you are too. This practical resource invites modern-day Marthas to sit down spiritually as they exchange try-hard striving for hope-filled freedom without abandoning their doer’s heart in the process. Doers need to be affirmed in their innate design to do rather than sit, yet also be reminded that they don’t have to overdo it in order to be worthy. This book is not an exhortation to add or subtract things off your to-do list, but it is an invitation to embrace the “good” of the Good News. Here is an offer to step into your position as a daughter of God and to enjoy life as a doer.
Katie M. Reid is an author, speaker, and singer who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life at katiemreid.com. Her first book, Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done, will release on July 10, 2018 (published by WaterBrook). Katie’s writing style is transparent, poetic, and reflective. She has published articles through Focus on the Family, HuffPost, MOPS, LifeLines, iBelieve, and LightWorkers and is a contributor in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond and the Five Minute Friday book. Her album, Echoes of My Heart, is also available for purchase. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Hot or iced tea and cut-to-the-chase conversations are a few of her favorite things.