Now, another(yes) repost from Pastor Paul Scanlon's blog.
In the story of Jesus at Mary and Martha’s house (Luke 10) we read that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet whilst Martha was busy feeling stressed out in the kitchen.
Martha never comes off well in this story, tending to be judged rather harshly whenever it is told.
I want to show you another side to this story, which celebrates Martha as much as Mary.
Jesus loved both Mary and Martha (John 11:5), valuing them equally. It’s also clear from the text that the house actually belonged to Martha not Mary (Luke 10:38). So it was Martha who received him into her home.
‘Mary’s’ want to simply worship Jesus but it is the ‘Martha’s’ who build homes where that can happen.
Behind every worshipping Mary there’s an exhausted Martha who takes care of all the things that would prevent and dilute the focus from Jesus.
If the church is all Mary and no Martha, it will be all worship and no structure, but if it’s all Martha and no Mary, it will be all work and no worship.
Martha’s work makes Mary’s worship possible, but if we don’t appreciate this, the Martha types resent the Mary types for not being more practical, and the ‘Marys’ project guilt on the ‘Marthas’ for not being more spiritual.
The reality is that Mary became famous for pouring oil on Jesus feet but it was Martha who burnt the midnight oil for him! We need both; one is not more spiritual or necessary than the other.
I’ve been to ‘all Mary’ churches and, whilst they are very devoted worshippers they can be awful timekeepers, poor organizers and terrible hosts. I’ve also been to ‘all Martha’ churches, highly organized, very hospitable but lifeless and unresponsive to God.
Just as these sisters lived in the same house, we need them both together in God’s house; we need the worship of Mary and the hospitality of Martha.
The church is like a restaurant where everything happens in the kitchen.
People don’t choose a restaurant for its kitchen but rather for its atmosphere, ambience, decor, location, service and food.
The restaurant is calm, peaceful, candlelit. There are wine glasses, white linen, silverware and music.
The kitchen is more like hell than heaven! It’s loud, sweaty, stressful and hectic.
There’s no linen, music or candlelight, and yet that’s the heart of the restaurant. People fall in love with the restaurant not its kitchen.
They recommend the restaurant to their friends and leave others to dine in this new place.
Our problem is when we get more diners – more Marys – who just love the restaurant and we ask them to help in the kitchen; they can get offended.
People may even sign up to work in the restaurant not realising that there’s no real work in the restaurant, it all happens in the kitchen. Marthas live in the kitchen so Marys can enjoy the restaurant but we need more and more Martha’s if we are going to serve more and more Marys.
It’s time to let all the Marthas in your world know just how much you appreciate them.