Martha and Mary
38 While they were traveling, He entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.”
41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 (HCSB)
So, what does this excerpt from Luke have to do with fiery darts?
First of all let’s take a look at Martha and Mary. Martha busied herself with the many tasks of opening her home to a beloved friend (oh, and who just happened to be the Son of God–no pressure!) Mary, on the other hand, risked the criticism of a very frustrated sister, to sit at Jesus’ feet to listen to what He had to say. (Betcha, she was hanging on His every word!)
Women through the ages have read this biblical account and have related to it in a variety of ways. Opinions have been expressed as to which sister Jesus approved of more, and often Mary comes out on top. But everybody knows that we can’t have a world made up of just Mary’s. Martha’s are a necessary ingredient to maintaining balance BUT we can’t have a world made up of just Martha’s either! Each has their place; and each must be given the freedom to find it! (in their own Martha and Mary way, I might add!)
So, what’s my point here?
I believe that Jesus was pointing out the fact that both types of devotion to Him are necessary. But in that moment (and so often in our lives) the Martha’s of this world needed to give the Mary’s in this world the space to go about their tasks in their own way without becoming critical.
Martha’s are good at what they do. So good in fact, that they genuinely have a hard time believing that Mary’s can do a job better than they can. So when they see a Mary falling short of perfection (doing it the way a Martha would) then it’s up to them to step in and get the job done right!
ENTER! The Fiery Darts!
Martha and Mary both are prime targets at this point for bookoodles of fiery darts. Martha’s are convinced their way is best and become a bit insensitive to how they are coming across to their Mary’s. After all, what is wrong with this Mary she is dealing with? The job needs to be done, therefore, it needs to be done right. Why can’t this Mary person be more appreciative of her help. Can you see Martha’s frustration! Oh yeah!
Then we have Mary. Having a hard time trying to figure out where she went wrong!
Listen, if Mary’s not careful she will begin to focus more on Martha’s criticisms than she should. When that happens, the fiery darts of low self worth, find a prime target and she will become a fading flower if she focuses more on what Martha thinks of her than of what Jesus thinks of her. But Mary’s of the world, take heart! Martha’s are a powerful force but keep this in mind. You are not in competition with them over Jesus’s favor. Jesus loves you and accepts you just the way you are (even if the Martha you are dealing with appears not to). You will see that you are a beautiful flower in His garden (that’s a Mary thought if there ever was one), if you will but keep your focus on Him.
Martha’s are an uptight bunch of gals. They excel at most everything they do. As a result, they get lots of strokes from all of those who admire their excellence. The expectations they have from their admirers plus the expectations they have for themselves must be met. Oh really? Pride is a deadly fiery dart and Martha’s are so susceptible to it. Be on your guard, dear Martha’s. You are not competing with Mary’s for Jesus’s favor, either. Just take a deep breath and relax. Give others the opportunity to get the job done in a way different from the way you would and don’t criticize them for being true to themselves! Remember, you want to encourage them to please Jesus not You!
(Hey, and surprise, surprise, you’ll find there really is more than one way to skin a cat!)