Martha gets a bad rap

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

It’s that time of year where I really think about Martha and Mary and this story that really drives me crazy.
I can’t seem to get out of Martha’s brain.
Here she is with the biggest star of their generation in their home, (Please don’t think I’m being sacrilegious. Jesus was famous. He was the son of God. Have you met some of our most charismatic ministers? They are super stars. And they’re nothing compared to Jesus.) the oldest, expected to cook, clean and entertain.
Only she’s not alone. Her younger sister should be helping, but she’s not. Why? Because she’s in the front room with the men talking to Jesus.
And then when she finally complains, she’s rebuked for caring about the things of lesser importance like cooking and cleaning and entertaining.
Which is all fine and good if you’re Jesus or one of the guys sitting up front who never has to worry about that since the women take care of it all the time.
I know what I feel like when someone stops by my house and it’s a disaster and I don’t really have the necessary items to be a good hostess.
I’m embarrassed. I know, I know. That’s on me. But it’s not really. When was the last time you went to someone’s house and it was a mess and you didn’t judge? Even for a second? Even if you only judge for a second and then tell yourself your place is an even bigger mess.
I’d love the see the Mary and Martha story written from a woman’s perspective. Maybe even Martha’s.
Because those guys writing it didn’t have a clue what it’s like to be the woman responsible for home and hearth. They never had to have a clue because people like Martha took care of business.
Maybe the answer there was for Martha to go up front and talk to Jesus too, and let one of the guys take over the cooking and cleaning and entertaining.


3 responses to “Martha gets a bad rap

  1. I understand what you mean, but I think Jesus wasn’t saying that those things weren’t important, just that what Mary was doing was more important at that moment. Most likely I think Martha had Jesus’ star power in mind as she cooked and cleaned and tried to do for Jesus. I think Mary had Jesus as the Son of the Living God in her mind as she sat as his feet, drinking in every word. I believe Jesus was commenting on Martha’s priorities, not her work ethic.

    But I do understand what you mean.

    • I know you’re right about Jesus’s meaning. I still totally understand Martha’s reaction (other than talking to Jesus about it!).

      • Oh I understand too. Maybe too well. In fact often we get involved in doing the work of the church and forget to BE the church. I think that we American Christians can relate more to Martha than to Mary most of the time.

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