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Let's Stop Bullying Martha and Start Celebrating Her

Let's Stop Bullying Martha and Start Celebrating Her

Do you ever get frustrated when you read the passage in Luke 10 about Mary and Martha? I do, because I empathize with Martha. If no nobody works, nobody eats (unless bread and fish multiply out of thin air). 

“But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’” (Luke 10:40-41, NASB)

Why didn’t Jesus tell Mary to help her sister out? 

As one of God’s dependable daughters, it feels like it’s all up to me to manage schedules, feed bellies, and keep the ship afloat.

Martha was worried and bothered because she thought it was up to her to get it right—to achieve balance between perfection and presence, to provide a balanced meal and a clean home, with a smile on her face. She was positioned to crumble under the weight of the unrealistic expectations she had placed on her shoulders.

“But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:42-42, NASB)

For centuries those who are made like Martha, wired to get things done, have felt inferior to Mary, the one who sat at Jesus’ feet. 

It seems like Mary’s temperament was approved and Martha’s was discounted. Yet let’s not confuse correction with rejection. Pointing out one behavior to improve upon is not the same as criticizing the totality of who you are. 

Let’s not discount Jesus’ correction… it is for our benefit. But let’s not add to what He said by discounting our temperament.

Let’s stop bullying poor Martha and start celebrating her! She was a responsible woman. She was hospitable. She wanted to do her best. These are admirable qualities.

You can hold your head high because Jesus loved Martha (see John 11:5). He simply pointed out she did not need to serve from a place of striving. He was inviting her to serve from a place of peace… whether she was standing or sitting. Her physical posture was not the issue, it was her spiritual posture that needed an adjustment.

Jesus wasn’t condemning Martha! He spoke affection over this woman He created. He invited her to be at peace within, through gentle, kind correction. And the same is true for us.

When we are convinced of God’s love for us, apart from our works, we begin to breathe deeper and stand taller, knowing that the weight of the world does not belong on our shoulders.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV)

Resting as God’s daughter produces a confident assurance that it’s not all up to us. It demonstrates trust in our Father to care for us even amid our demanding to-do list. But settling in as God’s daughter does not mean we should compromise our God-given design as a doer either. 

Let’s stop apologizing for being made like Martha. Instead, let’s embrace the fact that we are loved and created to “do” by a God who knows what He’s doing. 

KATIE M. REID is a firstborn overachiever and a modern-day Martha. As an avid blogger at katiemreid.com, Katie provides posts, articles, letters, and other resources for try-hard women on an ongoing basis. She encourages others to unwind in God's presence—through her writing, as well as through her speaking—as they find grace in the unraveling life. Katie has published articles with HuffPost, Focus on the Family, iBelieve, Crosswalk, MOPS, (in)courage, God-sized Dreams, Inspiring Families, and many other websites. She is also a contributing writer for iBelieve.com and Lightworkers.com and has been syndicated on ForEveryMom.com. Katie is a devoted wife of a youth pastor and a homeschooling mother of five children, who resides in the middle of Michigan.

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