Marys vs. Marthas

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her,“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” -Luke 10:38-42

Have you ever done something a little crazy to impress someone? I know I have. One particular time always sticks out to me.

When I was a sophomore in high school, a boy who lived down the street had a crush on me. One day, my brother and I were hanging out with him and his brother. The boys decided to set up a bike ramp and starting jumping their bikes over it. I wanted to impress this boy, so I decided to give it a try too. Long story short, I ended up with a mild concussion and scrapes on half my face. I think it scared that boy off, but it’s okay. I ended up with a great story and a solid commitment to bike helmets.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we see that we’re constantly trying to impress people. It’s something that we as humans are so quick to do. We’re so used to trying to make ourselves look good in front of other people that it carries over into how we see Jesus.

It can be easy to feel like we have to impress Jesus. Maybe we feel like we have to do something really exciting or maybe we see following him as a to-do list with things we can check off as we go. When we look at the story of Mary and Martha, we see Martha’s desire to make everything perfect for Jesus. She wants to impress Him by being a great hostess. She’s upset that Mary is just sitting at the feet of Jesus, not helping her with anything around the house.

It can be so easy to do things for Jesus to try to impress him. This story reminds us that Jesus doesn’t want us to do that at all! We don’t need to impress Jesus, because we are confident that He loves us even when we don’t deserve it.

So what does that even mean? It means that we are freed up to spend time at the feet of Jesus, knowing that His love is enough to make up for all of the things we can’t do. We don’t have to be Marthas, running around trying to make everything perfect for Jesus. Jesus knows we’re not perfect and loves us anyway! That’s how we’re free to be Marys, and spend time at the feet of Jesus, not trying to impress Him, but enjoying His presence.

It’s so easy to get into a habit of doing and busyness and trying to make everything perfect. Jesus shows us through His time with Mary and Martha that being present - being with Jesus and trusting His love for us - is so much more important than trying to impress Jesus.

What are some ways that we can exchange busyness for being present? To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve quite found the answer yet, but I’ve been praying for the Lord to show me how to be more of a Mary than a Martha, and I would encourage you to do the same!

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