STOP! Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, please pause to participate in an impromptu and informal survey with me. It won’t take long.
Ask yourself… “Who am I most like…Mary or Martha?”
Our pastor asked the same question at a recent Sunday evening service. In a sanctuary filled with lots of ladies, only two women raised their hands when asked if they identified their lives with Mary.
Okay. What about you? Is it Mary? Or Martha?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Martha is our role model for a Type A overachiever. She likes to be in charge and she likes to get things done. She has a list and when she finally gets that last item checked off, she will collapse into exhausted satisfaction… temporarily. Tomorrow she will draft another list and the mode that makes her “all Martha” will return for another refrain. Sometimes she gets help with her projects. Other times, not so much. Flying solo can bring out the best in her as she is tight wired to excel. It can also bring out her wounded martyr mentality, and she will passively aggressively guilt anyone not able to read her mind and volunteer to help. She loves to tell anyone who will listen all about the number of things she has accomplished. In her mind, no one ever seems to be as busy or as booked.
Then, there is Mary.
Although some might describe her as the type to stop and smell the roses, she probably hasn’t taken the time to plant any. She recognizes that life is short… that “getting it all done” only results in “it all needs to be done again.” She puts God first and spends quality time with people she loves. She looks you in the eye, she listens to what you have to say and she lets you know that you matter to her. She is not immune from stress but ponders its source and takes control of every thought. She’s aware of all the striving round her and doesn’t mind helping as long as it doesn’t interfere with her time alone with God. She has found the Source…the Supplier of her peace…the Keeper of her time… the Fountain of her youth. All other activities are a meaningless chasing after the wind. Sure, she knows if you don’t work, you don’t eat. It says so in 2nd Thessalonians 3:10. But there will be plenty of time to work. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything under heaven.
While her sister Martha is on a mission to do many things… Mary knows there is really only one thing. Her properly placed priority is the Prince of Peace. He will bless her and reward her for choosing to seek Him first.
Martha or Mary?
I wasn’t either of the two women who raised their hands at church signifying they most identified with Mary. I threw my hand up in the air and proudly went with the majority, believing I am more often Martha than Mary. In fact, most of the women I know claim allegiance with the over-achieving sister.
Both have their rightful places in our society and there is a great need for go-to girls. But the older I get and the more I see my accomplishments just need repeating… the more I am DESPERATELY SEEKING MARY!
“If God isn’t first, sooner or later He will simply be a nice embellishment to our lives. When we put God first, we are empowered to love each other better, even if our love is not at first understood. The trouble is that too often we ignore things that should be first in our lives and go after secondary things, thereby losing both.”
~Camille Fronk Olson
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations 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!”
“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”
I did notice for the first time when reading this story again that this all happened at Martha’s house. So for all of us who identify with Martha, but would like to be more like Mary, I know this…it’s much easier to relax when the dinner party is at my sister’s house.
© Copyright 2011, KeziahCarrie. All Rights Reserved
Comments on: "Desperately Seeking Mary" (11)
Well, since you asked so nicely I have stopped and am participating. I’m a “Martha” and no that’s not simply due to my name. HOWEVER, I am converting to a Mary . . . the process is slow but has begun. In part, the progress has been made due to my dear sweet priest and friend who reminds me of my Martha ways, but also we have study groups at my church on a constant basis called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” which is the title of a book written by Peter Scazzero and it’s an amazing tool for a small group. It’s changing me in many ways. It’s okay to still call me Martha though.
Martha Martha…Having read many of your posts I can confirm that you are in fact on a journey to find your Mary. I often envy people like priests who seem to have so much time to spend with God. But I suspect on the inside they too struggle with all that needs to be done. God bless you as you travel. We’re gonna get there! 🙂
I am definitely a Martha – though striving to be a Mary, should be a Mary. I love my face time with God, but it’s true, I tend to put it off if needed when tasks start piling up. I need to remember what’s most important, and that when I don’t put God first, the rest just doesn’t go well. Your last comment gave me a much needed giggle: “…it’s much easier to relax when the dinner party is at my sister’s house.”
Thanks so much for a great reminder! 🙂
Carrie Anne…It would always be my choice to be a Mary and put God first. It’s the people around me who like Martha so much who bring out the people pleaser in me and Mary gets lost in the shuffle. I can’t blame any of them because when I’m Martha they get Mary time. I guess there is room for both. We certainly know Jesus loves them both. And I think I can hear an AMEN coming from my sister’s house. 🙂
Once again, your post speaks to me personally, as I am trying desperately to be more ‘Mary-like.’ I’m always encouraged by your words.
Just as soon as I think I’ve got a handle on Mary, Martha slips in and writes things on my schedule. It’s a process. 😉
Your last comment made me want to throw a dinner party for my girlfriends- so they could like Mary relax in fellowship. How Martha is that:) ! ? !
As I got to the end of your post ‘it’s much easier to relax when the dinner party is at my sister’s house’, I thought how TRUE and…..
I should throw a dinner party for my sister-friends, my dearest girl friends and sister in laws, because then they could enjoy the fellowship of each others company Mary-style.
… Now how “Martha” a thought was that! 🙂
Yep, that’s pretty much Martha. But a good giving sacrificial Martha. 🙂 I wish you could be here sometimes when I read your comments. You either make me laugh or cry. I just hope my sister doesn’t call in “her turn” or I’ll be doing the cooking.
I have been both Mary and Martha at different times in my life. I guess you could call me Mary Martha Sullivan…:) Sounds like a good Irish Catholic name…
There is certainly room in our world for both, Mary Martha. 🙂 But oh what a joy are those days as Mary!