Whether You Are a Mary or a Martha, Here’s How to Be the Best Version of Yourself
- Emma Danzey Contributing Writer
- 2021 25 Oct
Many are familiar with the story of Mary and her sister Martha in the Bible. The two sisters appear in a story when Jesus was visiting their home. With only five verses dedicated to this account in Luke 10:38-42, we learn a lot about both our Savior and ourselves.
Today we are going to talk about if you are a Mary or a Martha, and how to be the best version of yourself. Both women are significant and loved by Christ, but both have their own strengths and areas of growth, just like we do.
Martha: The Go-Getter
Martha often gets a bad reputation for this story. She is the one whom Jesus teaches a lesson based on her decisions. However, Martha is not the “bad sister,” she is clearly an accomplished and dedicated woman. She owns a home (Luke 10:38) and lets her sister live with her. She loves to make people feel hospitable and she loves to serve. These are wonderful qualities. The trouble was not with who Martha was, but her priorities were easily misplaced in her business. Scripture says, “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:40a).
If you are a Martha, you might be an amazingly productive person. You are likely gifted in service, hospitality, generosity, or administration. You are a worker and an achiever. The challenge is not whether you will do the work, but if you are caring more about the person of Jesus or the task in front of you. We can learn from Martha in what Jesus Himself said, “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (Luke 10:42).
If you are a Martha, what are your “many things?” What responsibilities are weighing you down and distracting you from spending time in God’s presence? How are you putting your work from the Lord above your relationship with Him? We can all easily fall into this trap when we focus on ministry, organization, gifts, or skills instead of the One they are all about in the first place. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Martha has a shining moment of faith and deep trust in her Savior later on in John 11:21-22. “‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’” Martha expresses such belief and trust, even before we see Jesus bring Lazarus back to life. Whether or not Jesus chose to heal Lazarus, Martha clearly had grown a lot in her personal relationship with Jesus to go to Him with such confidence.
Mary: The Teachable Spirit
I feel like of all of the people in the Bible, that Mary truly understood the verse in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still and know that He is God.” Mary knew the value in sitting at the feet of Jesus. She understood the importance of having a teachable spirit and the gift of quality time with the Savior. Mary of Bethany is the one who poured out expensive perfume on the feet of Jesus to prepare Him for His burial (Matthew 26:6-13, John 12:1-11). Mary knew what it was like to give her whole heart to God.
Although Scripture does not focus on it, an easy trap that Mary – or someone like Mary – could fall into is only keeping faith between you and the Lord, but not working towards sharing it with others.
There is a beautiful vertical relationship that we are given when we become believers. However, if we spend all of our time focused on our own personal growth and never invest in the lives of others or share the gospel, we can be missing another great part of being a disciple of Christ. It was wonderful that Jesus taught Mary, but what if Mary never taught others? It was great that Jesus gave Mary encouragement, but what if she never encouraged others? A person who is still before the Lord can enjoy that so abundantly and it will not be taken away (Luke 10:42). However, faith is not meant to remain in the quiet places, but to shine like a city on a hill.
Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
If you are Mary, you might have your priorities in check, you likely have Jesus first. However, the challenge becomes making sure that you are sharing Him with others. When you have the light of Christ, do not hide that light, but let your light shine so others can see God and give Him glory.
Whether you are a Mary or a Martha, both women have incredible qualities and are equally loved by Jesus (John 11:5). Each woman learned different lessons from the Savior and welcomed Him in. Martha got the tasks completed and Mary was relational. If you tend to be the Martha, remember to keep your identity rooted in Jesus first and not to forget about the people in front of you. If you tend to be a Mary, continue to soak up all of the sweet personal times with Jesus, just remember to share of His love with others and do not hide that gift that you have been given.
Photo credit: Unsplash
Emma Danzey’s mission in life stems from Ephesians 3:20-21, inspiring young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. She is wife to Drew for over two years and mom to baby Graham. Drew and Emma serve with Upstate CRU college ministry in South Carolina. Emma is an avid writer for Salem Web Network and provides articles on the Bible, life questions, and on the Christian lifestyle. Her article on Interracial Marriage was the number 1 viewed article on Crosswalk for the year 2021. All the glory to the Lord! She had the joy of hosting Her Many Hats podcast where she explored the many roles that women play while serving One God. Most recently, Emma has released her first Bible Study Book, Wildflower: Blooming Through Singleness.
Emma enjoys singing/songwriting, fitness classes, trying new recipes, home makeover shows, and drinking tea! During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Emma also had the privilege of having been a national spokesperson for Mukti Mission based out of India. Mukti has been working to restore shattered lives in India for over 120 years. You can view her articles through her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com