Good Morning “Mary-Martha”  The Position Jesus Praises  Abiding as One

Good Morning “Mary-Martha” The Position Jesus Praises Abiding as One

Karen and Tom Berry Karen and Tom Berry
14 minute read

by Jill Garrett

Jesus said, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10: 42

In the South, it’s fairly common to name your son or daughter not one but two names with a little hyphen in the middle.  I’ve always wondered about the mindset behind that--even wishing I had thought of it.  Perhaps they couldn't choose just one before seeing that little bundle of love Would she be a Lily or a May?  How about Lily-May?  Would he be a William or an Edward? Oh!  I’ve got it!  He is a both--William-Edward.  

I like to imagine our heavenly Father is a lot like that.  

After all, He demonstrated His love for the world in the offering of His only begotten Son, not to condemn the world;  but to save the whole world.

Just as He cannot love only one, He also has a reputation for changing names.   Abram becomes Abraham, and Jacob becomes Israel.  Sarai becomes Sarah, and the list goes on and on….  

I love what the prophet Isaiah tells about a name God has in store for us in the future.  Isaiah Chapter 62:2 says, “…and you shall be called by a new name; that the mouth of the Lord will give, and in 65:15, “but God’s servants he will call by another name.”  

In line with His train of thought, I thought it appropriate to title this blog, “Good Morning Mary-Martha!”

Recently, I felt a nudge from the Spirit to take a deeper look into the mindset guiding these 2 sisters.  My experience has been that “Poor, bustin’ her tail off Martha, too often gets “the bad rap.”        

The simple truth to be found in this story depends on the year, season,  day, or hour---we can, at any given moment, switch—and begin to operate either from the mindset of Martha or Mary.  

I believe it’s beneficial that we all get our minds “in check” earlier in the day than later. It’s been said that “Our Mind is the Seat-that Guides Our Feet."

Will I choose today to Abide?

Will I choose today to Strive?  

Here you are!  Well done!  You are still hangin’ on and have decided to “Abide.”   

For over twenty years, I have been called to teach the Word of God to women of all ages.  I have tasted and seen that the Lord is GOOD!

I have sat in upper rooms, at long, outstretched tables, and digested God’s Word alongside some of the most powerful, prayerful, and studied women of the Bible.   However, in all this time, I have repeatedly observed women’s reactions when the topic of Mary and Martha is discussed.  

A story of 2 sisters, with two very distinct personalities who choose two different positions in the presence of Jesus, and there has not been a single time this story has been discussed that two familiar spirits haven’t entered into the room - The spirits of condemnation and comparison.  They are “thieves who come to rob, kill, steal and destroy”  our individuality and attempt to divide us into teams!  

Mary--the A team:  adored & admired.   

Martha--the B team:  busy and bossy.  

 Solomon said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”  Therefore, I know I am not the only one in women’s ministry to observe this and feel a deep longing to unite the two teams, making us one united front!     

A few months ago, I stumbled across the picture located at the top of this blog.

I saw it, stared at it for a good 10 minutes, and thought it would be fun to do a little…Creative Thinking Exercise:  

I invite you to try it!  Take a minute or two, return to the top picture, and if necessary, put on your readers/blow up your screen to 200% (like mine this morning) and lean in close.  Get a good look.  Jot down what you see, feel, and perhaps… hear.   

We are all familiar with the quote, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.”   Fred R. Barnard wrote that, and I have a good feeling had ole Fred R. been a woman, he would have surely said,  “A picture is worth 30,000 words.” 

My Creative Thinking Exercise:     

There was no cell phone in Martha’s hand, meaning there was no text that said, “Martha.  It’s Jesus.  We are coming to your house…today!  Me plus 12…

Martha’s unannounced house guest is the Messiah of the world--

Prep time:  the distance of the road 

Jesus + 12=26 feet to be washed

The majority of those eating are (hungry) teenage boys

Martha:  she has rounded the corner ten times, and those pigeons are scrambling to get out of her way!

Martha:  heavy, iron skillet (weapon) in her hand

Mary: finds the “ PERFECT” place to sit--

Wow!  Can you imagine?  Keep in mind--this is “one” afternoon in the life of Martha and her sister Mary.  There are five verses dedicated to this timeless story.  A story written down by Luke, read, interpreted & dissected….until the end of time.

“Now as they were traveling along, they entered a village, and a woman named Martha  welcomed them into her home. She had a sister Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.  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” 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 10:38-42

Jesus says to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things.”

A peek into Martha’s Mindset---

--Jesus is not condemning her.  He is correcting her.  Hebrews 12:3 tells us, “The Lord disciplines those He loves.”  That word “discipline,” in the context and language it was spoken, means “training.”  God trains those He loves.  

---John 11:5 says, “Now Jesus loved Martha ..”  

---When Jesus says Martha’s name twice, it is for emphasis.  Someone says your name twice, and it’s kind of like a “SNAP” to get your attention.   

---Jesus has been reading Martha’s mind since He arrived.   

Often, I have found when I come across something in the Bible that I find isn’t clear, it is most often “lost in translation.”  Literally lost to our English-speaking, western mindset.  

Google gives us a sneak peek into Strong’s Concordance.  There is a number beneath every word written in the King James Version, and it will translate the meaning of our English word into Hebrew/Greek language, which was the language it was actually spoken in.  This is extremely helpful for all Bible students.

When Jesus says, “Martha you are worried,” He uses the Greek word “polus,” which means “being pulled in different directions.”   When He says you are “bothered,”  he uses the Greek word “merimnao,” which means “The mind being divided into several parts.”     

The mind is known to be “the cage of the will.”   Earlier, I said, “Your Mind is the Seat that guides your feet.”   What we think about is important because what we think about is what we Do.” 

Martha’s mindset is driving her feelings & feet.    

How familiar are you with multi-tasking?  How many of you have heard (more than once) your children tell you, “Our generation is really good at it.”  Wrong!  

Next time, you’ll be ready & armed for them with some research I recently found for us!  

Research and Science have since discovered that “multi-tasking is attempting to divide your mind into many separate parts.”

Who just said that?  JESUS!  Who better knows the inner workings of the human mind than the Manufacturer Himself?  

It has been proven that the human brain is not capable of doing more than one task simultaneously.  When we try to do two complex tasks simultaneously, our brain doesn’t actually multi-task; it uses up valuable, working memory resources.  This switching back and forth between the two tasks makes us far less observant and prone to more error. 

One last thing:  According to a study conducted at Stanford University, “Multi-tasking can be detrimental to both your productivity and overall well-being. Not only are we less productive, but we feel more stressed, more anxious, impatient, and irritable.” 

Wow.  Just…wow!  

In Luke Chapter 10, Jesus addressed a timeless truth.: a truth regarding a mindset that causes us to be worried and bothered like Martha, as it divides it into many parts.  

Now, we are a culture, who with the advancement of technology, holds in our very hands a device that is constantly and consistently pulling our minds in many directions, and we see its impact. Our minds in multi-task mode manifest as (from above) being stressed, more anxious, impatient, and irritable.

I think Martha has just become more relatable than ever.  

In the story, Jesus is not condemning Martha; He is not condemning us.  He is “training us” by showing us “a better way!

Mary’s Mindset----

---She is seated at the Lord’s feet.  Jesus says, “only one thing is necessary, for Mary has  chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”   

---By sitting at Jesus’s feet, Mary is actually crossing the boundary lines of the time, culture, and religion.  During this time, only men were allowed to study under a Rabbi.  Only men were allowed to sit at the Teacher’s feet in the position of a disciple.  Mary chooses faith over fear; she makes a bold & courageous move, and she allows her mind to guide her feet --to sit down at the feet of the Lord Jesus. 

---John 12 tells us that six days before Passover, Jesus, knowing He is headed to the cross, visits Mary, Martha, and Lazarus at their home in Bethany.  Bethany is located 2 miles from Jerusalem.   Mary, again, caring very little of man’s approval, sits down at Jesus’s feet.  She takes out a very rare, expensive ointment and anoints His feet, preparing Him for His burial.  Many commentators believe this would have been Mary’s dowry, saved for her wedding night.  She pours “her future” on Jesus’s feet, and I believe she professes Jesus as her Bridegroom.           

---According to Jesus, what was the one thing that would not be taken from her?  Again, a peek into the Greek, we see the word for “one thing, and it is the verb “meno.”  It comes with a word picture of a grape attached to the vine and, by definition, means “to stay, to abide and to be fully present.”   The noun is “henos” and simply means “One.”   The “better part” Jesus was referring to, was for us to choose “Oneness with God.” 

So here we have it.  Two sisters, two distinct personalities, two different mindsets that moved their feet to choose two unique positions while in the presence of Jesus Christ, their Lord.  

Jesus's love remains the same for both Mary and Martha.  He doesn’t prefer one over the other.  We are all His favorite.  He reveals that His desire is for us to abide in Him and be One with Him.


---The Mind is the Seat –that guides our Feet    

To rise & make up our mind---to BE intentional to carve out time (even 5 minutes) to Abide rather than Strive.  

On “Martha days”:  Crank up the worship music in your car.  “Faith can be strengthened by hearing the Word of God.” 

Be warned of feelings of condemnation.  Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is no longer any condemnation for those of us who are In Christ Jesus.”  That says, IF you are in….you are IN, and there is nothing that can break that Holy Spirit seal!   

Live out of knowing how much you are loved.  “One glance of your eyes and His heart beats faster.”  (Song of Solomon) 

Remember:  if Martha had sat down first and then served---she would have served out of compassion rather than with compulsion.

Ask for a Holy Spirit prompting when you find yourself drifting.  Drifting occurs by simply doing nothing to feed your spirit.    

Take time to self-evaluate.  Unattached to the vine, we will gradually go from a connected, fully filled grape to a weak & weary raisin.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. “Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find.”  Who is more blessed, the giver or the receiver?  I say, both!

Goal:  “Abide as One.”   


John 17:20-22  The High Priestly Prayer

Jesus is going to the cross.  He looks to the sky and prays a prayer for us.  Read it aloud, so your ears may hear what the Spirit is speaking over you today, tomorrow, and forever.  

 “….I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word (ours), that they all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I am in you, that they also may be In Us,  so that the world may believe that You have sent me.  The glory you have given Me, I give to them,  that they may be One, even as We are One.   I in them and you in Me, that they may become perfectly ONE, so that the world will know you sent me and loved them as you loved Me. “

May God bless you, your family, and your children—

Love, Jill



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