The Mary In Me

01 Feb

I’m a Martha. I’ve always been a Martha, and I’ve always been proud to be a Martha. But let me back up and explain the Mary/Martha categories for those of you who may be unfamiliar. In the New Testament, Jesus has a friend named Lazarus. Laz is not one of Jesus’ disciples. He’s not a ministry partner. He’s the buddy that Jesus always wants to hang out with when He’s passing through that town. Laz has two sisters, Mary and Martha, and the dynamics of their relationship are such that the whole gang is often found hanging out together – Jesus, and whoever’s travelling with Him, Laz, the sisters, and maybe a few other friends.

Martha seems to exude some first-born personality traits. She is in charge, she’s got her hand in many pots, and she’s always doing. She cooks and serves and shows her love to her friends by helping however she can.

Mary, on the other hand, prefers to sit with the guys and listen to (if not participate in) their conversation. We can’t assume that she doesn’t want to help at all, but she just doesn’t want to miss what’s being said. Visiting takes precedence over busywork.

Like I said, I’m a Martha. I’m busy and I like it. I like to know I’m being helpful, and I enjoy being involved in a lot of things. When people get talking about how wonderful Mary is, I stick my fingers in my ears and say, “La-la-la-la-la!” I guess I’ve always rationalized that Mary can sit and lap up all the praise (even from Jesus Himself) for now, but someone has to do the work and I’m willing to do it. And so I get on with my doing, doing, doing, and completely miss the fact that Jesus didn’t just praise Mary; He also rebuked Martha!

The lesson has finally started to hit home for me. It began a few weeks ago when I was praying (as I have been for over three years) for wisdom in parenting Teddy. “Lord, please give me wisdom so I know what to do.” “Lord, help us to be better parents.” “Lord, help us to be more consistent…more loving…more firm…better examples…” “Lord, none of this is working. I don’t know what to do!”

And the still, small voice spoke: “You don’t need to do anything. It’s not about what you do or don’t do. I will do it. He is Mine.”

I don’t need to DO anything?!?! It was barely sinking in. It sounded so foreign, so refreshing, so strangely familiar. I don’t need to do it. God will do it.

It seems whenever God is teaching me something, and I feel like I’m getting it, He says, “No, you’re not quite there yet. Let me take you a bit further with this.” And so it was with this lesson.

I had just auditioned for our church’s Easter Passion Play. I hadn’t auditioned for a specific part, nor had I seen the script. I just felt like I should be involved somehow, so I tried out. Wouldn’t you know it? Just a few hours after I had this conversation with God, I got the email from the drama director. I was to play the part of Martha. I must say, God sure knows how to make a point.

But He wasn’t finished yet. The lesson for my Bible study group the next week was about God being our Pursuer. The depth of emotion and revelation that filled me through that study will have to be saved for another posting. Suffice it to say for now, though, that God reiterated His point quite succinctly. He is my Pursuer. He is my son’s Pursuer. He is on the job. I needn’t be. It is time for me to take a cue from Mary, and just sit and enjoy His company.

I’d like to check this lesson off as ‘learned’, but I have a feeling I’ve only just begun. Getting into character as the original Martha means I’ll be learning this lesson very intimately and very publicly in the months to come. It’s gonna be a wild ride!


Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Family, God


2 responses to “The Mary In Me

  1. Carrie

    February 1, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    I too am a Martha, and would love to be a Mary (only sometimes) but when I try to be a Mary something always happens or gets said that makes me feel that I am doing (or not doing) something I should be. So it is easier to just go along being a Martha…
    I find my Mary days come when we are on holidays and Craig takes over and just lets me relax and he does everything – he’s such a good man.
    Maybe after you are through learning about all this and see how God teaches you – maybe you can just let me know and I won’t have to go through it. HUH if only it worked that way eh?? I will be interested in following this to see what He is teaching you – praying for you as you listen to His still small voice –
    Maybe we can be Mary’s someday together, I wonder if there are some other Martha’s that would like to hang out with us??
    luv ya (best fbc youth of all times…..and the bestest barefoot water skier i’ve ever seen, and i’ve only seen 1 barefoot skier 🙂 but that matters not)

  2. Clara

    February 1, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    God really does have a sense of humour. I believe He’s getting your attention Anita!


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