Soon it will be Mother’s Day. It is a day that we celebrate moms, grandmas, aunts, and all the special women who care for us. It is fitting that today’s story is a tale of 2 sisters, Mary and Martha. It is from Luke chapter 10.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 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!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.
Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Although they were related, in this story, they couldn’t be more different. Jesus is planning to visit their home. Not just Jesus, but many of his followers as well. We meet Martha first, hard at work. We can imagine her cleaning, sweeping, and mopping for days to get the house ready. We can see her spending hours, even days preparing the food. She wants to be sure everything is perfect.
At points, I know exactly how Martha is feeling. I feel that way when I am busy preparing my home for guests. Hours or days cleaning, cooking, and planning for their arrival. It just gets me tired.
Where is Mary when Martha is doing all of this? She is out, sitting with Jesus and his disciples, listening to His teaching. She is taking what Jesus is saying in, just being present with Him in the moment.
Martha gets frustrated. They both are supposed to be hosting together, but she’s the only one doing work. We know how that feels, don’t we? When we feel like we are the only one doing anything, and everyone else is sitting around. Finally, Martha storms out of the kitchen, pleading with Jesus to send Mary back to help her.
He does not. Instead, he tells her that Mary made the right decision. There are moms and Grandmas that know hard work like Martha. Taking care of the house, cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, work, school, family, friends, the list goes on and on.
The fact is, we need some Martha in our lives. There are times where we just need to get things done, and Martha does that well. We need Martha’s in the church. They help clean, decorate, cook for the congregation, and help with the kids. They make sure that the church is ready for worship each Sunday. They do so much that goes unnoticed.
As important as Martha is, we can’t forget about Mary. Even with all the work there is to do, she decides to sit with Jesus. Mary decides to just be there, be present in the moment. To take time to take in Jesus’ teaching. In a world that is so busy, we need time to just breathe.
Many people feel that they need to be either a Mary or a Martha. If they are completely Martha, they do all the work of the house. They do everything for everyone else. Others are fully Mary, sitting there, watching others work, being thought of as lazy. The fact is, what we need is a mixture of both sisters. To be willing to do the work, but to also know when to relax, and let Jesus refill us.
Thank you, moms, grandmas, aunts, sisters, and other ladies,
for all the ways you serve.
My name is Joe Obermeyer. I was the Youth and Outreach Coordinator at Bdecan Presbyterian Church from 2013 to 20202.