One of my favorite passages in the Bible tells the story of two sisters who each loved Jesus in her own way. Their brother Lazarus is well known as the man who came back to life at Christ’s command, but as a woman I relate best to Mary and Martha.
We read of these courageous women in Luke 10 and John 11. In the former, Martha (head of the household) has invited Jesus for a meal at her home. To make Him welcome, she busies herself with cooking and cleaning. Her younger sister Mary, however, chooses to sit at Christ’s feet and listen to His teaching rather than help Martha in the kitchen. Frustrated, Martha complains to Jesus, but is rebuked.
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Now, before you jump to the conclusion that Martha had no faith, consider the fact that Jesus was a ‘wanted man’ in Jerusalem. His miracles, and in particular His resurrection of Mary’s brother Lazarus, had irritated the Sanhedrin and the High Priest to no end! Bethany (their home town) was, essentially, a suburb of Jerusalem, so hosting this renegade could have brought the Roman soldiers storming into Martha’s home. Notice, too, that Jesus very likely arrived with His entourage of seventy followers (the returning apostles whom he’d sent to preach the gospel and cast out demons). Martha then was cooking and serving a BIG crowd!
So, which sister do I want to be? It depends on the moment. I love to cook and clean and make a comfy nest for my family and friends. I enjoy being a servant (take that women’s lib!). However, I also LOVE learning, and I can easily spend days researching on the internet or reading book after book, all the while letting my family fend for themselves while dust bunnies take over the house!
I’m so grateful to the Holy Spirit for inspiring John and Luke to include these dear sisters and the lessons Christ teaches me through their actions. I can be both women…at different times. And both sides of my Mary/Martha personality can serve Him.