I know–I’ve spoken about Mary and Martha a few times in the past year, but if you don’t mind too much, I’d like to go back there again. It’s been nagging on me. For a while.
I wrote a book on the topic of virtue, “The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife.” It’s based on the verse from 2 Peter 1 which reads,
“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 2 Peter 1: 5-8
The book leads you through one virtue at a time, offering you applicable and inspiring ways for a wife to grow closer to God and her husband.
And then the comments came in. So many wonderful comments. 99% of them were favorable, but one challenged me to take a closer look at Mary and Martha… “Try harder. Be better. Do more. Is this really a biblical message to send already weary women? …What we REALLY need is – contrary to this book’s approach – empowerment to be more like MARY, who Jesus clearly stated had chosen wisely.”
The questions I wanted to look at were these, what did Mary choose? How was she empowered? Why was her choice better than her sister Martha’s? And finally… Is living better and trying harder contrary to resting in God’s grace?
Let’s take a look at the scripture from Luke 10:38-42,
“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus. She knew that He was the most important part of her life. She prioritized Him before anything else. She was dedicated to Him.
What it doesn’t mean is that she was a bad housekeeper, a lazy servant, or a bad hostess. If she was simply being lazy, Jesus wouldn’t have said, “She chose wisely.”
Martha on the other hand was the one who invited Jesus into her home. Since we’re told that Mary “also” sat at the feet of Jesus, we can assume Martha did too. The issue wasn’t that she didn’t love Jesus, but that she was troubled about many things. Sometimes we can get so preoccupied with life that we forget how important it is to fellowship with God. He needs to be our first priority. Everything else that we do is an extension of that faith.
This brings me back to Project 365. I urge you to choose wisely. Exercise is good, eating well is great, and breaking bad habits are important, but if we aren’t Christ-centered it’s all in vain.
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8
The word “little” found in that verse can also be translated as “for a short time.” In other words, it pales in comparison to godliness which will profit us in every area of our life, not only today, but also throughout eternity.
Not to say we shouldn’t focus on exercise or eating well. That should be important to us. My body is not only the temple of the Holy Ghost, it’s a gift that I cherish and hope to take care of. But here’s the thing, first and foremost I must be Christ-centered.
I have to be ready and willing to drop to my knees and sit at His feet.
Being Christ-centered doesn’t mean that we take the easy road. In fact if we examine the early church we see people who strived unto death for the gospel. Our faith is worth fighting for.
Does sitting at the feet of Jesus call us to be lazy? Tell us that we shouldn’t try to live better? Or that striving is contrary to God’s call on our lives? Absolutely not. It means that He’s walking beside us, and that whatever may come, His grace and His strength will carry us through.
Here’s a quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Matthew chapter 11:25-30, that reminds us how His burden is light and His yoke is easy…
They [Christians] must learn of him all things, as to their comfort and obedience. He accepts the willing servant, however imperfect the services. Here we may find rest for our souls, and here only. Nor need we fear his yoke. His commandments are holy, just, and good. It requires self-denial, and exposes us to difficulties, but this is abundantly repaid, even in this world, by inward peace and joy. It is a yoke that is lined with love. So powerful are the assistances he gives us, so suitable the encouragements, and so strong the consolations to be found in the way of duty, that we may truly say, it is a yoke of pleasantness.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:12-14
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
If you’re looking for more inspiration like this, check out my book, The Virtuous Life of a Christ-Centered Wife: 18 Powerful Lessons for Personal Growth.
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