Mary and Martha

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42)

Mary and Martha welcome Jesus into their home for a meal, Martha does what so many of us would do -  jumps right into the kitchen to prepare the meal - not any meal, something special as she has a very special visitor to feed. How many of us would do just the same? And how many would complain that Mary wasn't helping. All of us if we are honest!!

How many us worry and busy ourselves 24/7 thinking we are doing the right thing, to only find that we are neglecting the very people we should be concentrating and spending time with. And far more, not spending enough time with God and serving others. 

Like Martha, we often over-stretch ourselves and instead of preparing a simple meal, we spend hours in the kitchen preparing a banquet and in the process find ourselves stressed and exhausted and little time to sit down and enjoy the company of others. We have come to believe that "things" must be done "now", when in fact some things can wait or be done simpler. 

Mary was the sunlight to Martha's thunder. She was the caboose to Martha's locomotive. Mary's bent was to meander through life, pausing to smell the roses. Martha was more likely to pick the roses, quickly cut the stems at an angle, and arrange them in a vase with baby's breath and fern. (Page 5 from Having a Mary heart in a Martha world). 

In Titus 2, we are instructed to care for our homes, but we don't need to be the Queen of the Kitchen or the Empress of the Housework. This doesn't mean we should not spend time keeping our homes clean and tidy - these are important and essential tasks, however they should not become our life and take up our every moment. If we aren't careful, our housework and our homes become our idols and our distraction. 

If your housework consume you and leaves you "worried and troubled" and wearing you out:

*  Find a schedule that works best for you that doesn't create stress and worry. Do you really need to vacuum or dust every day? Remember that most husbands don't want their homes to look like "Vogue" or "Better homes and gardens", they want a place that is homely and relaxing to return to each day. 

*  How about prioitizing your day - what needs to be done and what can be left for another day, draw up a plan for the week, month, etc... And remember to look at all those activities you spend time on i.e. Pinterest, blogging sites, Facebook etc and see how much time is chewed up wasting time. 

*  Decluttering your home make it much easier to maintain (and certainly helps with dusting) and it is such a liberating  feeling when your home is decluttered. If you struggle with decluttering, find a friend who loves to declutter (like me!) and get them to help you!

*  Get the children to help - you are all on the same team and they should be helping around the house and you shouldn't be doing it all alone. 

*  If the evening meal causes stress, come up with a simple menu that isn't demanding and you can manage - don't be like Martha and try and prepare a banquet when a simple freshly made soup with toast is just as filling and enjoyable.

*  Don't be demanding on yourself to try and prove to others that you are a "superwoman" (surprise - but you aren't and none of us are) - whilst it would be nice to be able to do "everything", no one can, so stick to what is important and let go of the non-essentials in your life.  

*  Don't be afraid to ask your husband for help when things are getting out of hand, perhaps he can suggest other ways of doing things that reduces stress and worry.

*  Draw up a daily plan that has space for "time-out" which give you a decent amount of time each day to spend quietly reading or doing something peaceful or perhaps just sitting in the garden. We all need this time - especially mothers who are at home all day. This time should be about spending time with God and not Pinterest!

*  How about praying - it might seem silly, but we so often forget to pray when we are in a muddle "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2)

And remember, you do not need to have a spotless home or be a perfectionist. God isn't measuring your success as a wife and mother on how clean your home is. Do not set unrealistic expectations otherwise you will constantly find yourself stressed and anxious. Jesus didn't visit Mary and Martha to get a banquet and He probably wasn't looking at the amount of dust - He was completely focused on other things. 

We need to find a balance in a world that demands busyness like Martha, but does not understand the importances of having a heart like Mary. In the process we forget to be quiet and peaceful and sit at Christ's feet and listen. No wonder so many women are worn out and stressed these days. Even working women can find this balance if they pray about it and stop trying to prove to others that they can do everything.

Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 26:10)

In short: we need to be like Martha (and get our jobs done) and like Mary and have the time to sit quietly and listen. Its all about BALANCE and making God the centre of our world.


Here is a lovely poem by Annie Johnson Flint that sums up Mary and Martha so well. 

Martha was busy and hurried,
Serving the friend divine,
Cleansing the cups and platters,
Bringing the bread and wine;
But Martha was careful and anxious
Fretted in thought and in word.

She had no time to be sitting
While she was serving the Lord,
For Martha was "cumbered with serving,
Martha was "troubled" with "things"---
Those that would pass with the using---
She was forgetting her wings.

Mary was quiet and peaceful,
Learning to love and to live.
Mary was hearing His precepts,
Mary was letting Him give---
Give of the riches eternal,
Treasures of mind and of heart;
Learning the mind of the Master,
Choosing the better part.

Do we ever labor at serving
Till voices grow fretful and shrill,
Forgetting how to be loving,
Forgetting how to be still?
Do we strive for "things" in possession,
And toil for the perishing meat,
Neglecting the one thing needful---
Sitting at Jesus' feet?

Service is good when he asks it,
Labor is right in it's place,
But there is one thing better,
Looking up in his face;
There is so much he can tell us,
Truths that are precious and deep;
This is the place where he wants us,
These are the things we can keep.



  1. I am most definitely a Martha! So I am working hard on finding the balance between having everything the way I want it done and taking time out. I was brought up with the idea that you should never be idle and taking time out was selfish and lazy - it is a really hard habit to break. I don;t know if I ever truly will.
    Great post - especially love the poem.

    1. Have you read the book by Joanna Weaver - I would highly recommend it for all the Martha's out there (me included). I would have got so cross with Mary for being lazy and I was taught that being lazy is a bad thing, but the book has really opened my eyes to what our role is with Christ. A friend of mine introduced me to the poet and I love her work now and you are bound to see more of it!! Have a great day - and do take a break for "sitting with God" and enjoying your family.

  2. I'm definitely a Martha too - and I know I need to get on and read that book! But I have been trying to intentionally have quiet times both in the mornings and evenings... It really helps me get through the day to start it off right, and also I really look forward to my "down" time in the evening prior to going to bed. I used to work from morning till night (even if some of it was just knitting or sewing, it was still me "on the go"), and when I got married Dan made me start taking time out, and I'm really glad for that now. It was really hard to stop being busy ALL the time, though, and even now sometimes I feel guilty when I'm not being constantly busy! :P

    1. I try and leave my evenings completely free - once the dishes are done, that is for the evening - it is time for feet up and relaxing with my husband. I have reached the conclusion that I am not a machine and can't keep going as if I am one - not good for my blood pressure!! No guilt any more. Women can have time out - a soak in the bath tub, sit out side and read - it isn't being slothful, its what keeps us healthy :)

  3. I recently discovered your blog and I just have to say, I LOVE IT!!! If I were to re-vamp my blog it would be similar to this one, but you've already done that, so I don't need to! Ha-Ha! Thank you for your sweet devotion to the Lord and your ministry to the home. I am a terrible house-keeper and need all the encouragement I can get! Peace and joy are two main ingredients I have been lacking lately, so thank you for your blog!

    1. Thankyou for your lovely comments :))) you made my day.

      In Gods precious grace :)

  4. The story of Mary and Martha has always encouraged me. I've wanted to be a Mary but sometimes I'm all Martha. Finding a balance is hard but doable. Visiting from Strangers and Pilgrims.

    1. I think we all find balance hard and its something we need to revisit from time to time and have strategies in place (which will differ for each of us) to get us back to where we should.

  5. It can be so tough to "be still" -- I always feel the urge to busy myself. Thanks for this reminder about finding balance :)

    Thanks for sharing at #SmallVictoriesSundayLinkup ...I've pinned your post... hope you join us again this week!


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