Mary and Martha

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Focus Scriptures

Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV)

Mary and Martha

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”

41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”


Biblical History

Jesus and his disciples often traveled. As they traveled, they would often stay at the homes of fellow believers. During each visit, Jesus would fellowship with the families He stayed with. Jesus had stayed with Mary and Martha on other travels before. He cared for their family very much.  Earlier in His ministry Jesus had actually raised their brother Lazarus from the dead.

Mary and Martha both loved Jesus very deeply.


Meaning behind their names:  Martha means ‘lady of the house’.
Mary means ‘wise woman’ or ‘lady’; it is a Greek form of the Hebrew Miriam or Mariam.

I think it is interesting that the sister with the “wise” name was the one who showed true wisdom in this situation.

Thoughts from Leslie

It is important to note that God deeply desires for each one of us to draw nearer to Him. We saw this as we read the story of Mary and Martha.  Our Heavenly Father truly does LOVE us. He sincerely wants to be close to us.  This may seem like a small detail at first, but it is not. This is a HUGE and VITAL realization! Think about it, why would any of us choose to move closer to someone that does care about us? I don’t know about you, but I never want to intentionally move closer to someone if they do not want me near to them.  I never want to feel like I am a burden or imposition on anyone.  Knowing that my Lord and Savior truly does want me near to Him helps me be both willing and eager to spiritually move closer to Him.


Let’s reflect upon the story of Mary and Martha 

Reflection Number One:

 God WANTS us near to Him.

Jesus has come to the home of Mary and Martha.

What is His purpose in being there? Let’s look closely to find the answer.

Jesus and His disciples are traveling.  They do not own houses in the different towns in which they travel, so they choose to stay with other believers.

It is important to note that Jesus does not NEED to stay with anyone as He travels.  He is the Son of God!  He actually created the entire world and everything in it simply by speaking it into existence. Reflecting on this fact helps us to realize that Jesus could have chosen to simply speak the words and He could have provided food and shelter for both Himself and His companions at any time without needing to stay with anyone.

Not long before arriving at the home of Mary and Martha, Jesus had fed 5,000 people with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  This should prove to us that He definitely had the ability to personally provide everything that He and His disciples would ever need during their travels in the same exact way.

It is imperative that we understand that Jesus chose to abide with others not because He NEEDED to, but because He WANTED to.  He invites us to abide with Him today for the same reason.

This fact should help us realize that Jesus truly does DESIRE to STAY CLOSE to us.


Reflection Number Two:

We do not need to “earn our spot” before we draw nearer to God.

Jesus wants for us to stay close to Him not because He needs our hands, but simply because He desires our heart.

It is important for us to realize that there is nothing that we can do to earn our spot near Jesus. This realization is sometimes difficult for us to believe. In this crazy world, we begin to believe that LOVE is something we must earn.  This warped thinking tricks us into believing that the one who works the hardest for Jesus is the one who will be chosen to abide in His presence.

It is this thinking that makes most of us relate to Martha in this story.  As we read these verses many of us find ourselves feeling sorry for hard working Martha and maybe even a little angry at her sister Mary.

Isn’t it sad that as women we tend to believe that acts earn love? Women, as a whole, grow up thinking that that the best way to make someone love them is by serving them more and more.

Serving others is definitely important.  The problem comes when we try to base and grow a relationship simply through works. Relationships are built through quality time spent with another. Doing things for people should never replace quality time spent with them. This is the big takeaway from the story of Mary and Martha. Serving will never move us closer to someone, it will only make us feel more needed.  God doesn’t need any of us.  He desires for each of us to abide with Him, because He loves us not because He needs us! Because of this, drawing closer to Jesus can only be accomplished by becoming less like Martha and more like Mary.

As we continue in this study let’s focus our attention on reflecting upon the beliefs and actions of Mary.  Like Mary, we must first believe that Jesus truly does desire to be near to us. She believed that Jesus wanted to spend time with her so she intentionally chose to move closer to Him.

Next, let’s take note that Mary did not try to earn her spot at the feet of Jesus. We must realize the same. To truly be near to Jesus, we must focus less on work and more on fellowship. It is important that each of us truly understands that it is God’s LOVE that calls and allows us to come to Him.  We do not earn our new spot by the work of our hands!

Our God longs to have a personal relationship with each one of us just as He did so many years ago with Mary and Martha. He is reaching out for us to come closer. Isn’t this AMAZING!




Important Words:


Welcomed: (verb) to receive or accept with pleasure; regard as pleasant or good

Original Word: δέχομαι
Part of Speech: Verb
Short Definition: I take, receive, accept, welcome
Definition: I take, receive, accept, welcome.


Connection to us:

Martha “welcomed” Jesus into her home. She did this by physically inviting Jesus in. Many of us today also “welcome” Jesus into our home. We do this by purchasing Bibles, devotion books, prayer journals, and the like. Like Martha, we truly desire to spend time with Jesus. And like Martha, we easily become distracted. With every new day, our Savior is calling for us to move nearer to Him.

We can do this by spending time with Him reading His Holy Word and meditating on His love. Will we move nearer to our Savior today? Will we momentarily leave our distractions behind to accomplish this goal? Jesus is waiting with open arms. The next step is up to us!


Connection to me:




Heard: verb, to learn by the ear or by being told; be informed of.

original word: ἀκοω: to hear (in various senses)


Connection to us:

Mary did not just listen to Jesus speak, she HEARD His words. This is vital for us to understand. Hearing involves learning! Mary learned from Jesus. This should be our goal today.

Let’s strive to intentionally be like Mary each and every day. Let’s open our ears and hearts and allow Jesus to teach us!

We can do this as we actively read God’s Word and reflect upon it.

By READING God’s truths and then REFLECTING and APPLYING them, we can be like Mary in our daily relationship with Christ!

Are we ready to LEARN from our Savior? Are we ready to be filled with the LOVE of Jesus?

Let’s spend some quiet time reading and meditating on God’s Word today!


Connection to me:




Distracted: (adjective) to be drawn away or diverted, as the mind or attention.

Original word: περισπάω to drag all around, i.e. (figuratively) to distract (with care)

Connection to us:

As women, we consider ourselves to be “masters” of multi-tasking.  But the truth is, when we use this mindset in our relationships, we are actually “masters” of none.  When we focus our attention on more than one thing at a time nothing or no one is getting our FULL attention. In our busy lives this is often necessary, but can be harmful in our relationships. Relationships are about giving yourself completely to another person. We cannot give ourselves completely to another person if our minds are diverted during “quality” time spent with them. Mary knew the importance of devoting a few minutes out of her day completely focused on Jesus.  It is vital that each day we find time to do the same. Our Savior desires a DEEP relationship with us. He wants us to come to him each day (even for as little as a 15- minute time period.) He wants us 100% completely focused on Him.

Are we ready to schedule 15 minutes of time each day completely in the presence of LOVE? Let’s take a few minutes now to quietly meditate on the truths found in this week’s scripture.

Connection to me:





Serving: (verb) furnishing or supplying with something needed or desired

Original Word: διακονέω-to be an attendant, i.e. wait upon (menially as a host, or friend)


Connection to us:

As women we tend to show love by serving or “providing”.

We begin this habit from an early age.  As children we show love to our parents and friends by “making” them things: crafts, notes, desserts, and doing things for them. We continue these habits as adults.  The more we LOVE someone, the more we tend to want to DO for them. Sometimes we even judge how much someone else loves us by calculating how much they “do” for us. This is not how Jesus determines LOVE!

Jesus does not NEED us to provide for Him to prove our love for Him. What Jesus most desires is US! He simply wants us to spend time each day in HIS presence!!!

This is so AMAZING! Jesus simply desires us to be NEAR! Are we ready to draw nearer to Him today?

Connection to me:




Discussion Questions


  1. What is keeping you from moving closer to God?



  1. Do you feel like you need to “earn” your spot at the feet of Jesus?  If so, why do you think you feel this way?



  1. Can you connect more with Mary or with Martha in this week’s scripture? Why?


  1. What “falsehoods” do we learn about love that keeps us distanced from God?



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