Two Wonderful Women

Sunday, February 22, 1998

Luke 10:38-42 – 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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

You remember those wonderful women of the Bible — Mary and Martha. They were among Jesus' closest friends and followers. No one loved Jesus more than those two great women. Jesus loved them both.

To my way of thinking, each woman represents a way of loving and serving Christ. As you remember, Mary was the quiet, contemplative, sister and Martha was the busy, bustling and active sister. Martha was the sister who when the Lord came to visit was out in the kitchen seeing to the supper. Her way of showing her love for Jesus was to cook and serve a fine meal. Without doubt if anything needed doing, she did it. Today's Marthas still serve Jesus in that way. These are the fine Christian men and women we find at all the church functions pitching in and working their fingers to the bone. Their way of showing their love for Christ is to bake, cook, clear-up, dust, sweep-up, polish, repair, and do whatever else needs to be done. They do it quietly, without fanfare, but they do it well. But while the Marthas of the church are bustling about, the Marys are often elsewhere.

You remember from the reading that Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening and learning, studying and fellowshipping; but she was not out in the kitchen! As a matter of fact, that irked her sister Martha. Today's Marys and Marthas still seem to be like that. Today's Marys usually have their noses in a book of meditations, prayers, or Bible study. They are prayer warriors who daily intercede for their friends, families, and church storming God's heavenly throne room with their petitions. But they have that nagging fault which the Marthas find so unbearable. They tend to be sitting listening when the dishes need doing in the kitchen. But notice what Jesus said of Mary to Martha: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)

That one thing was Christ. Seeking Him. Learning from Him. Worshipping Him. That is what is necessary. As the Scripture tells it, Martha had one glaring fault. Martha was too busy to sit down to study at the feet of Christ. Did she ever study that life and freedom giving Word? I think she did because John tells us that when Lazarus died, Martha was the first sister to seek out the Lord. She was the first sister to proclaim her faith in Jesus and she was the one who, believing, went and brought her sister back to meet with Christ. In effect, Martha became an evangelist, a bringer of good news.

Today the church still has Marys and Marthas. Both love the Lord and both show it in their own way. Ideally, we would each be a bit like Mary and a bit like Martha. Which sister are you like, Mary, Martha, or both? Whichever one, know you are loved and blessed by our Saviour more than you can possibly imagine.

Prayer: Lord God, In Jesus' name I come before you confessing I am sometimes a Mary when I ought to be a Martha, but at other times my fault is reversed. In Jesus' name, forgive me for being obtuse and intolerant when you have called me to be loving and to show that love in all that I do. Enable me to love as you have loved me. Amen.

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Cassandra Wessel <>
Tionesta, Pennsylvania, USA

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