Embracing Mary When You’re a Martha
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a devotional from author Barbara Britton
I’m a task oriented, list maker. I get the work done around my house so fast, sometimes I don’t remember doing it. I also have a nutrition degree, so put me in a kitchen and I can make something edible. When I read Luke 10:38-42, the story of Mary and Martha, I immediately sympathize with the frazzled sister, Martha. Have you ever grumbled about a sibling that left you to do all the work?
Jesus travels to a village with his disciples and we are told a woman named Martha opened her home to him. Yay, Martha! Hospitality is a gift, and one cherished in a time without motels and McDonald’s. But somehow in all the commotion, Martha forgot who she invited. She let cooking and food preparation dampen her joy and take her attention from her guest, the Son of God.
I feel for Martha slaving away while Mary sits and revels in the wonder of God, but then I must do a mirror moment. Am I letting tasks and life’s happenings take my eyes off Jesus? Am I blocking time on my calendar for devotions and Bible study or am I too busy doing life that I forget the Creator of life?
Having a busy schedule isn’t bad. After all, being hospitable takes time. But as we go about busy lives we need to remember to abide in God’s presence. We can rest at Jesus’ feet anywhere. I pray in the car—out loud. No one thinks I’m crazy. They probably think I have a high-tech car. I listen to Christian music and remain focused on what Jesus has done for me. I lead a Bible study once a week. I’ve thought of giving up my leadership position, but then I ask myself if I would stay active in studying the Bible. Maybe not.
Martha learns her lesson about keeping her thoughts on Jesus (even if she’s washing wooden plates and chopping leeks). In John 11:20, when Jesus arrives in Bethany after Lazarus, Mary and Martha’s brother, has died, who do we see running out to greet Jesus? Martha. Mary stays at home and Martha goes out to meet her Lord, the Son of God. Martha has learned to enjoy Jesus’ presence no matter what she is going through.
Life isn’t always easy, or fun. Sometimes it’s stressful and we can feel alone. Let’s remember to focus on Jesus and spend time with Him. He will change our focus and renew our spirit, and He can multiply our time.
If you’re cooking dinner tonight, or driving car pool today, remember to pray to Jesus and abide in his goodness. Run out to meet our Savior. He will always be there to greet you. Chances are, He already has his arms outstretched.
Barbara M. Britton was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories.
Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. She has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate.
“Jerusalem Rising” is Barbara's latest book. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website www.barbarambritton.com