martha: martha served

from the martha: martha served reading plan

Luke 10:38-42, John 12:1-2

BY Sarah Matheny

Text: Luke 10:38-42, John 12:1-2

Perhaps it is the Type A, go-getter in me jumping to her defense, but in my humble opinion, Martha gets a bad rap. The truth is, the world needs Marthas. Not to say that Mary is lazy, but frankly, sometimes we just need people who get stuff done.

At least Martha opens her home and offers what she has to the Lord.

At least Martha lets Mary (via a conversation with Jesus) know what she expects of her. At least Martha isn’t just walking around bitter and hostile, slamming pots and pans, rolling eyes and sighing loudly, a victim of her own standards, victimizing everyone in earshot with the same.  (Not that I know anything about that.)

At least Martha knows who to go to when her expectations aren’t being met. There’s no more available ear than Jesus’.

At least Martha’s heart is in the right place. Sort of.

The thing is, the Lord isn’t satisfied with “at least” and “sort of.” And He didn’t come to Martha’s house to eat (He’s the son of God and, as evidenced by an incident with some loaves and fishes, He knows how to get some food if He wants some).

Jesus came to give the one thing that both Mary and Martha needed. (Luke 10:42, NIV)


When Martha comes to Jesus, she is so worried about needing Him to change someone else, when really, He wants to do a work in her. He wants to reshape her thinking. He wants to change her heart. He wants her to rest with and in Him.

Something tells me that as soon as Jesus turns to her and starts “Martha, Martha…”, Martha is kind of wishing she had kept her complaints to herself (Luke 10:41, NIV). And something tells me that when Jesus later returns to share fellowship with the sisters again, after raising their brother from the dead, He has done a work in Martha’s heart. Because Martha doesn’t get preoccupied with details, Martha doesn’t rat on Mary and she doesn’t complain to her Savior about not getting any help.

All we know is that “Martha served.” (John 12:2, NIV)

The world does need Marthas, those people that get things done. But when they get things done, they have to do it with the right heart. And thankfully, Jesus is in the business of reshaping hearts, whether they belong to Marthas or Marys or someone in between.

Post Comments (50)

50 thoughts on "martha: martha served"

  1. Thais says:

    My husband is not a Christian, and it’s hard. Sometimes (or many times) I ask the Lord to change him. But it may be that, at the end, I am the one who needs to be transformed.

  2. Anna says:

    I am definitely a Martha, complaining about me doing all the work and everyone else expecting me to. But if that is how God wants it, then it's time for me to open up my heart and not let it get so heavy.

  3. Touné says:

    I think that some times that coming to the realization that we are being a Martha makes the Mary times at Jesus feet even sweeter because we really know what it's like to be starving for a few moments with Him

  4. mamajudes says:

    Yes, we are all in need of reshaping ~ regardless of whether we tend to be Martha or Mary. Great reminder. Thank you.

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