The Ole Mary/Martha Syndrome


How do you react to unexpected guests? I’ve shared before and will share again; I’m a neat freak! There that’s out in the open again. I have always been very particular about my house and surroundings. I used to look at decorating books and magazines and try to duplicate the styles into my home on MY budget; which was zero. I love the trash to treasure technique. I have become very thrifty and resourceful over the years.

Years ago, when I lived on my farm, I would experience mixed feelings when people would stop in. I would love but to entertain but not unless my home was perfect looking. I would spend a whole day cleaning, cooking and baking. I mean I would even scrub the baseboard around the house with a toothbrush. Not no-more. The toothbrush is for teeth only!toothbrush

As I’ve grown older I am not so detailed, although I still like a very tidy house. But I have come to realize that my clean or unclean house does NOT define who I am. “BE ALERT, for you don’t know when the day of the Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42. “My Dear Beth, I am not coming to check for dust bunnies, dirty dishes or unmade beds,” says the Lord. That’s what I hear Him say some days. It makes me ask myself, am I making more of a fuss over the appearance of my home or about an appointed time in the WORD?

Ouch!!! I admit, there are days when I can’t concentrate on my prayer list or my Bible reading because I’m thinking about getting the dishwasher unloaded, toilets scrubbed or laundry being folded. What do I do? Oh it’s so sad to admit, I find myself at times being a slave to the “have to” list rather than sitting at the feet of Jesus. Most days I fight the urge to be a Martha, who was so particular to the “doings” of the day.

Luke 10:28-42 NASB…Now as they were traveling along, he entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called 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. But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, (that’s me…dishes, dust bunnies, laundry, clean floors etc.) but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” I want the good part too!!!

After reading and pondering over this scripture, I have realized that recently I’ve fallen into past habits. (Things) The laundry, the rugs need to be vacuumed, the meals need to be prepared, the bathrooms need cleaning etc. What would God prefer? He would prefer me spending enough time with Him. Am I filling myself up with enough of Christ that I have enough to share with others and give away? If I am running on empty all of the time because I’m doing so much busy stuff, then what do I have left over to give to others? What if I blow off someone who really needs ministering to because I have to go and make a meatloaf?  Notice in Luke 10:42…that the Lord said, “it shall not be taken away from her (Mary). Don’t you think it’s when we spend time in the Word, as Mary did (at the feet of Jesus) that we learn the eternal value of our God? Believe me, I am preaching right to myself with this one!

While reading about Mary and Martha, AGAIN, I long to be like both women. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, and was made full of the things of God. Mary was indulging her spirit, her everything at the feet of our Lord…Martha was busy working and serving.  Can you imagine both ladies; One at the feet of Jesus, and the other, serving Jesus while he’s sitting at the table. I know if Jesus were at my table, I would not neglect serving Him. Actually HE would be served first for sure, and, as it were in my household when my children were younger, He would get the GREEN cup. That was the treasured favorite cup. I don’t know why but my kids all fought over the GREEN cup.

Are we neglecting Jesus; (time in the Word) leaving Him alone at our table, on the nightstand or bookshelf? I really struggle with being so much more like Martha than Mary. I know God wants us to have a balance but my scale definitely tips more in the Martha direction. How about you? Are you more of a Martha than a Mary? Are you so particular to details or check lists that you don’t put time in with Our Creator? A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight. Prov. 11:1 NASB

Don’t be a false balance…Be a Martha and a Mary. How? Get a routine going! Set a routine and don’t let anyone take you from it. It may mean you get up at 5:00 a.m. or you take your Bible into the bathtub or you listen to it while walking. I do a lot of prayer walking these days. Maybe after you put the kids to bed, instead of turning on the television, you just sink into the Word. Whatever works for you. Just do it!!!alarm clock


Oh God, that I would learn to balance my Mary and Martha personality. I pray that I will make the time to not only serve you but sit at the foot of your cross and just spend time with you, praising you and talking with you. I pray that I would find my routine again in the Word. I confess, there are days when I just tip the scale too much into Martha’s direction. Tip it back God, I pray. Amen


Come and join us on Facebook at …Living By Grace. Let’s chat about this. Please share your strategies of how you balance your Mary/Martha personalities. I would love some help.

living by grace

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