Reflections

It Will Not Be Taken Away {learning from the story of Mary & Martha}

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(This post was written yesterday evening.)

Earlier this afternoon, I found myself in an interesting situation. (Warning: bodily functions ahead!) I was in the middle of assisting my daughter off of the potty.

And there it was.

Poop.

I’ll spare you the details, but it was in places where it should not have been.

Let’s face it. When you are a mom, things like this are second nature. You see poop and you don’t even bat an eye.

And most days that would be me. But not today.

Oh today I am tired from lack of sleep and from tending sick kids. To be honest, I am worn out from worry.

But I’m still doing this crazy thing called life, rushing around trying to get things done.

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And a voice in my head says something like, “This is all very well and good, but are you forgetting that one thing…?”.

Ah yes the story.

 

Mary and Martha

This story is becoming more and more relatable as the day goes on.

How well I know it. Or thought I knew it. In reality I don’t think I know it as well as I thought I did.

You’re probably familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, from Luke 10:38-41. 

They were two sisters who were friends with Jesus. Here are their stories, based on what I’ve studied from scripture.

 

Martha

Sister #1 is running about like a chicken with her head cut off. Barking orders. Even at…Jesus?

But wait. She’s all on her own, a one-woman show. Where is her help?

Sitting down?!

I always used to wonder about that. I don’t think it’s by accident either that the story is told from Martha’s perspective. God knows us well.

Martha is just trying to be a good hostess, right? Baste the roast, set the table, fluff the pillows.

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Mary isn’t doing anything at all. Except that she is. She’s doing everything that she needs to do. All that her heart and spirit needs is being met at this moment spent at Jesus’s feet.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (vs. 41-42a)

Worried and upset. About many things.

A page in the diary of my life. A phrase most relatable in this storm cloud of a day, in this season.

I’m thinking about so many things. My mind and my physical body are being pulled in so many directions. My very soul is weary. I am running on E but I keep going somehow.

But look at what Jesus says next after that bit about Martha’s troubles.

 

 Mary

“Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (v. 42b)

Two wonderfully positive things going on here in verse 42.

  1. She chose what was better.
  2. It will not be taken away.

Mary is actually a very quiet person in scripture. She is only recorded as speaking once, in John 11:32, before Jesus raises her brother Lazerus from the dead.

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But this isn’t a matter of personality… quiet Mary vs. bossy Martha. Jesus isn’t saying here, “Hey Mary is better because of her temperament”.

It was her actions and the state of her heart alone. Martha does exhibit strong faith when she speaks with Jesus in the same chapter I mentioned above (see John 11:21-27).

What I think Jesus really meant here is that physical needs have their place. There is no sin in being a kind hostess. It’s easy to be blindsided by life. But the inner, rather than the outward person is more important.

 

Sitting at Jesus’s Feet

Jesus keeps us going! He never meant for us to walk alone. To mother alone. To shoulder our problems alone.

No. He wishes for us to come away with Him. To dwell in the quiet for a little while so the crazy is less crazy. 

Because when we take the time, it makes all the difference.

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Did I feel rushed and pulled about today?  I did. But did I carve out time to spend with Him? I failed to. I was blinded by my to-do list.

But guess what? He’s still faithful. He still comes alongside me, encouraging my heart.

And what was playing on my Pandora today? I kept skipping through songs. Nothing was sounding good. “It’s Gonna Be Alright”, by Sara Groves comes on.

I couldn’t help but smile. It’s one of my favorite songs and talks about “not getting any sleep”. It felt like Jesus was singing it right to my heart.

Folks,

He is good. 

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18 thoughts on “It Will Not Be Taken Away {learning from the story of Mary & Martha}”

  1. Great post. I love how you point out that Martha seems relatable–she was just trying to be a good hostess, right?! But at the end of the day, deep in our hearts, we shouldn’t let the worries of daily life distract us from our relationship with Him. Yes, we have to work and do chores and be busy, but it’s not a justification for neglecting to pray and read our Bibles and devote thought to Him. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lily ☺ Yes! Martha was doing what she thought was right, trying to serve others. Daily time with Him is so important, sometimes I forget just how much. I like what you said, “we shouldn’t let the worries of daily life distract us from our relationship with Him”. Our worries can truly be distraction! Thanks for commenting ☺

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    1. ❤ Thank-you T.R.! Honestly I can’t tell you how much that means to me. There are times when I’m prone to doubt. I’m so glad this post could be an encouragement to you. I hope to write more as He leads 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Some days, we can be like Mary, and other days, the Martha side comes out. It helps me to remember that one isn’t right or wrong per se, but one is definitely BETTER (in the long-term) for our own spiritual well-being than the other.

        After all, Mary and Jesus were relaxed, and did not seem to be bothered by all of Martha’s activity; the only one who seemed to be having a rough go of it was Martha. I don’t think God minds our productivity, but He also recognizes that it – absent a meaningful relationship with Him – leaves us spent and worn out, and our relationahip with Him stagnates. So I think that He waits for us to wear ourselves out, and turn to Him, finally asking for help!

        However, the answer He provides is often different than what we think it should be. More often than not, He shows us the ways in which we need to grow, rather than addressing the flaws that we perceive in others.

        Keep up the great writing! ✝️😀

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      2. You definitely have a point there. It seems like from a young age I was taught to “be like Mary” or “be a Mary”. Both ladies had faith, but Martha was distracted in this particular moment. I think that’s maybe why Jesus’s reply to her was more on the gentle side.

        I agree with you, I don’t think He minds productivity either. So long as we remember Him and let Him help 😄

        Oh yes I am fimiliar with God addressing my (many) flaws haha. No doubt Martha was aware of hers too and sought to vent a bit by pointing out Mary’s actions. I love the way Jesus dove right down to the heart of the issue, probably leaving Martha flabbergasted but gently redirected. He often does the same for me. 😄

        Thank-you! I hope to do more posts like these in the future. I enjoy writing them!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Somehow I missed this comment! 😩 My apologies.

        Your discernment about how the Holy Spirit speaks to us through the story of Mary and Martha really resonates with me. I suppose we all have a little Mary and Martha in us, and our temptation to get distracted by our circumstances is very great. That’s why we have to take things one day at a time!

        At the end of the day, I suppose it really is all about where we place our focus. Mary got it right the first time! Truly, there is an important life lesson in this story for all of us!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rachel, Thank you for this! I smiled a lot as I read it, too. Yes, Jesus never meant for us to walk alone. Our alone time with him each day is critical to our relationship with him and with others, too, and to our peace. Mary chose what was best, to sit with Jesus and to listen to him talk. We need physical food to survive, but our spiritual food is critical to our survival, too.

    I am at that stage in my life where I can get alone with God throughout my day and to where I can spend a great deal of time with him. But, that was not always the case. But, we can all have time with our Lord throughout our day, even when we are fixing meals or doing dishes or washing clothes or vacuuming (sweeping) floors. For, he is with us always, and he is in our hearts, and he will talk with us throughout the day if we are listening and if we are in tune to his voice to where we can hear him speaking. And, we can talk with him 24/7, too.

    So, if our days get really busy, they don’t have to exclude God, for he should be a part of our entire day. But, we need that quiet time, that alone time with him, too, so yes that must be a priority in our lives to set aside that time free from distractions where we can just hear him speak and where we can be strengthened and encouraged in our walks of faith so that we can make it through our days in one piece and with peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank-you Sue! It’s interesting that you’ve shared about time with God throughout the day because that’s what I just read in my devotional today ☺ He is with us always, in the mundane and the busy, the joyful and not-so-joyful moments.
      I try to get that in depth quiet time daily, but as a mom It’s not always possible. I’ve found that just a few times here and there throughout the day to read some verses, meditate on them & pray helps a lot!
      Thank-you for stopping by & commenting! ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Rachel, I had four children, and although they are all now grown with children of their own, I have not forgotten what it is like to be a mom of young children and how quiet and private time is hard to find. But that is why it is important to realize that we can commune with God even while taking care of little ones or doing housework, et al. I used to listen to Christian radio a lot, and that helped.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank-you Sue! That is very encouraging ☺ It is a definite struggle for me to find quiet time. I treasure advice from mothers who have been there ☺ It can be frusterating when there are so many demands and not a lot of time to recharge. I remember my own mom would listen to the radio and Christian cds a lot. I need to do that more!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Rachel, you are so welcome! Now I have 14 grandchildren, so I know presently of what you speak. If you can work it out with a parent or a grandparent or a friend, maybe you can get some time off to yourself to recharge. I know how critical that is. I will pray you can work something out there.

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