As I study the lives of Mary and Martha, sisters and friends of Christ, from the Bible, I wonder to myself, "am I Mary or Martha?"
|Christ in the home of Mary and Martha by David Lindsey|
The scriptures say,
Luke 10: 38-42
When Jesus came into town, Martha was the first to welcome him into their home. She went about making a meal for him, while Mary sat at his feet and listened to him teach. When she noticed that her sisters was being idle and leaving all of the work to Martha, she complained to Jesus, and asked him to tell Mary to help.
Just this example isn't enough to determine the personalities of the two sisters.
|by Nathan Greene|
St John 11
When their brother was dying, Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus to come. When he didn't come and their brother died they mourned his death. Jesus purposefully came many days later. In the Jewish culture it was believed that the spirit of the person lingered for 3 days before leaving the body. Jesus came on the fourth day.
Martha met him outside of town and asked him why he didn't come earlier. That if he had, her brother wouldn't have died. But she knew that he still had the power to raise her brother, Lazarus from the dead.
Mary was in the house with the mourners, and when she heard that Jesus was in town, she also went to him sorrowing and said the same things that her sister had. Both had faith that Jesus was the Son of God who would be resurrected and that He had power to raise the dead.
Martha warns Jesus that Lazarus has lain in the grave for 4 days and he "stinketh."
I believe that she was concerned about Jesus health and well being. Jewish tradition had taboos and cleansing ceremonies surrounding the dead, and contact with them.
There's another story that may add to the discussion.
Later, during the week before Christ's crucifixion, Mary anoints Christ's feet with a very expensive oil, and rubs it in with her hair.
Clearly both sisters had great faith. Both loved Christ as if he were family, and were comfortable enough to speak with him intimately.
I think that Martha had some mothering instincts. She was concerned about the bodily health of Jesus and made sure that she took care of him.
Mary understood that He had something to impart to her. And that He wouldn't be around very long, and she wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. She showed her devotion in the anointing him with oil.
I recently read a book entitled, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In it he explains that we all give and receive love in different ways. Some people love by giving gifts, or spending time with someone, or by touch.
I believe that Mary and Martha had different ways of showing love to our Savior.
When Martha complained about Mary not helping her, Jesus didn't tell her that what she was doing was wrong. He did tell her that what Mary was doing wasn't wrong either. I believe it was His way of saying, " Martha, I'm not going to be with you for very long. The meal that you are making will fill my belly for a short time, but the spiritual food that I am giving to Mary, will be with her always. Do not begrudge her this opportunity."
We all act as Mary or Martha at any given time in our lives. There is a time to work hard, and serve others. We need to remember to feed ourselves spiritually. When we do, we won't feel resentment in our service of others.
The answer to the above question, is both.
What do you think?