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The Other Story about Mary and Martha

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We’ve all heard about Mary and Martha, right? Mary sat at Jesus’ feet. Martha worked. Martha complained. Jesus told her to chill out.

It this day and age (especially with young children), it is sooooo very easy to become Martha in this rush-rush society.

During the day, we have to grocery shop, do dishes, deal with tantrums, and have a Bible study…at some point. At night, we have teeth to brush (hopefully we have already brushed our own) and a husband that may need something…ahem…special.

It reminds me of a blog post I read recently by a friend. Her husband NEVER misses his 6 a.m. morning time with God.

6 a.m?

I’m lucky if I went to sleep by 1 a.m. the previous night considering all the things I have to get done! Geesh.

The last time I remember doing that…I was single.

So you get the point. We are busy. But Christ admonished Martha that by resting in his presence, Mary had chosen the “better part” – the part that wouldn’t be taken from her.

But have you read the “other” story about Mary and Martha?

Up until this morning, I hadn’t.

(Or maybe I had but never made the connection between the two characters’ stories).

John 12:2 reads:

A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

Here again, we see Martha serving and (wonderful, faith-filled) Mary doing something (again) spectacular. (Note my sarcasm.)

Obviously, Martha didn’t get the message the first time. Or did she?

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She’s still serving, but this time she’s quiet about Mary’s display of love and devotion.

Maybe she learned to bite her tongue? Or maybe she learned to accept that she was a more of a “doer” than her sister.

I am a doer. It drives me nuts to sit still.

I am Martha. All. The. Way.

Like Martha, I have to remember my priorities.

Jesus first. Works after. It’s a simple lesson, but one I continually struggle with. (Pray for me…seriously).

But, there is one “other” story I want to point out. It is the one where Lazarus is raised from the dead. Do you want to know what the Bible says about the Mary/Martha combo, then?

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him, but Mary stayed in the house.

Our little “doer-girl” was in part the reason Lazarus was raised from the dead. Mary sat her butt in the house (no offense, Mary).

Maybe she was too overcome with emotion? Who knows?

But Martha and her “git-er-done” personality called attention to a need. Who knows if Jesus would have raised Lazarus from the dead if not for Martha?

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So, I’m calling you Marthas out there:

Don’t curse yourselves for not being like Mary every single moment of your day.

God can use your “do-er-ness,” too!

But ya know, just remember (in the middle of your doing) to keep the first things first.

And don’t forget that when you’re stressed, caught up in all your deeds, that it is O.K. to take a break and sit and Jesus’ feet.



So many sermons have been preached on how we all need to be more like Mary -- sitting at Jesus' feet, but no one tells the ONE story about how Martha saved the day!

Head covering Christian woman who loves good coffee and stinky cheese. My favorite dessert is Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake. I am a Christian author, blogger, and speaker. I fell in love with my husband because he had rain drops on his glasses (true story). In my spare time I homeschool my seven children (5 girls, 2 boys).


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