The Lie About Mary and Martha

“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father, I have made known to you” John 15:15.

It had been a long few weeks filled with sickness, a difficult pre-teen, after school activities, and don’t forget the endless  housework. As I glanced out the kitchen window, I sighed a deep sigh. My husband had planned a much needed dinner date for us. Lots of issues needed to be discussed since we had spent the last few weeks simply passing in the wind.

I felt as  if I didn’t even know Mike anymore, unaware of his thoughts and his upcoming plans. I wasn’t even sure if I had even asked him about his day this whole week. Four kids can do that to you.

Have you ever become so consumed with life that your relationships are neglected? Even your relationship with the Lord becomes stale and just another item on your to-do list. You become disengaged and unaware of the Father’s heart.

Confusion and weariness leave an ache in your heart.

Lack of meaning and purpose overtake you.   

This may have been how Martha felt in Luke 10:38-42 when she snapped. Isn’t that what happens? We do, and do, and do, until we notice we are the only ones doing the work. Martha chose to work in the kitchen while Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet.

“But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand” Luke 10:40.

Martha may have felt a little threatened by Mary’s actions. Martha may have felt about Jesus, like I did about my husband, unsure of Jesus’ thoughts or upcoming actions.

Sometimes we become consumed with “doing” and we begin to question… Who are we following?

Martha tried to please Jesus through tasks he never asked her to do while Mary pleased Him by sitting in His presence.

Servants begin to question what others are doing or not doing. Jesus’ response should awaken our souls, “Mary has chosen the better part.”  Martha operated from the mindset of a  servant while Mary operated from the mindset of a friend.

Friends are given full access to the Father’s heart.  Intimate relationship, like in my marriage covenant, should be the focus, rather than strict obedience. Friends don’t want to disappoint. Servants don’t want to disobey.

Bill Johnson says it best in his book, Dreaming with God: “Martha was making sandwiches that Jesus never ordered. Doing more for God is the method servants use to increase favor. A friend has a different focus entirely. They enjoy the favor they have and use it to spend time with their friend.”

Most women live under the lie of trying to  balance between  Mary and Martha. The lie is we need balance. The truth is there is no balance between Mary and Martha. There is no balance between a servant and friend…you are either a servant or a friend.

I’ve heard women say, “I can’t help it I am just a Martha by nature.” That too is a lie. I’m not sure why we believe Mary was a non-worker. She simply learned to work from His presence. Her identity came from her Father and she operated out of that, rather than doing things God never intended for her to do.

We don’t have to have Marthas to get all the work done. We need women who know who they are in Him, rest in His love, and are fired by His Spirit to do only what He asked of her.

Our love and devotion to God should never be compromised. Let us not allow our tasks to identify who we are. Allow what the Father says to you in secret be the place you operate from.

Are you feeling like Martha today? Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel as if you are doing all the work? Has resentment snuck in? Are you finding your unaware of the Father’s heart? Find a time to pull back from it all and sit in His Presence.

Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty, I do not get involved with things too great or too difficult for me. Instead, I calm and quiet myself like a little weaned child with its mother; I am like a little child. I put my hope in you, Lord. Psalm 131:1-3


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4 thoughts on “The Lie About Mary and Martha

  1. I love this! I am a Mary by nature but most of my friends are Marthas. Some have questioned why Jesus was so critical of Martha. You answered it beautifully – she operated out of a servant’s heart instead of a friend’s heart. I’ll remember this. Thanks.

  2. This is a thought provoking take on the story of Mary and Martha- servant vs friend. It rings true. Friends can serve each other out of love, but servants can’t be friends with their master

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