Day 36: Martha Me

I am doing a study of Martha and Mary with a group of women. After an evening together of discussing "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" we all decided we were Marthas. Not really a significant revelation.

Some things I learned about Martha:
- Ummm, seriously type A
- Bit of a perfectionist
- Maybe not as much of a doer as we might have imagined, but definitely the one getting things organized
- Bossy and controlling
- Fallen way into the performance trap
- Doesn't really spend a lot of time wishing she was Mary
- Doesn't recognize her need to perform at all costs

Again, not a significant revelation here. But I did learn this. I have spent a lifetime thinking Martha was the "bad" sister and Mary was the "good" sister. Then I realized this profound thought. Mary had the spiritual gift of faith. Martha had the spiritual gift of service and most likely administration. They were each created to be the women they were created to be. Each had their strengths. Each had their weaknesses. Jesus didn't say to Martha, "Why can't you be more like Mary?" He said, "Mary has chosen the better part." Oh Carol, given the opportunity, will you choose work over worship?

All that to say, It's okay if I'm a Martha, created with the gifts I have. How I choose to use them, that's the determining factor in whether or not I am choosing the better part. Work over worship. Shouldn't be that hard, should it?

1 comment:

  1. Carol - Good post. Admirable honesty. Your reading of the Mary/Martha story is valid. It certainly is the dominant reading of this passage, one adopted by the anonymous author of "The Cloud of Unknowing" to talk about how contemplatives and actives try to understand and appreciate one another. I would encourage you, though, to see the reading given by Meister Eckhart in his "Sermon 86" (catchy title, huh?). He regards Martha as the more spiritually mature part of the duo because she has passed THROUGH the time of simply sitting at Jesus' feet and reached the state of genuine contemplation where she can carry Christ with her - be "at his feet," as it were - even in the midst of much activity. Eckhart understands Jesus' seeming words of rebuke to mean, "Don't worry, Martha. Mary cannot yet do what you can do, but she has chosen the same path and will one day arrive where you are." All that to say, you may be farther along the path than you give yourself credit for!


Thank you for reading. I look forward to hearing from you.