How To Have A Mary Heart In A Martha World

August 11, 2014 by


It’s such a short story, and yet it convicts me every time.

The Bible astounds me. Not only does God love us enough write a love letter to us, but His Word is living and powerful. (Hebrews 4:12). I can read the same passages over and over again and learn something new each time.

In a Bible containing 66 books, more than 1,100 chapters, and over 32,000 verses, these 5 somehow seem to jump off the page and smack me over the head each time I read them. It doesn’t seem to matter how much I know this story, intellectually, it can take great effort and discipline to live it at times.

In Luke 10:38-42, we find the story of Mary and Martha. I’m sure you’re familiar with it.

Martha invites Jesus into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. Martha, frustrated with her task of serving, complains to Jesus asking Him to tell Mary to help her.

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

When I start to become worried and troubled about many things, the first thing I consider is whether or not I have spent enough time at His feet.

There is a reason they tell you on an airplane that should trouble arise during the flight, put an oxygen mask on yourself before helping another with theirs. The reason is quite obvious, is it not? If we don’t have life, we are no good to those around us.

While I would love for these verses to be permission for me to sit and read Scripture, pray, and write all day long, I still have tasks to do. There is a family that insists on being fed three times a day. (Well, actually, it’s more like 13 times a day, but who’s counting?)

There are dishes to be washed and laundry to be folded, bills to be paid and phone calls to be made. There are neighbors to help and and emails to answer. The list is never ending, isn’t it?

So I walk in the tension of serving and sitting. I can only serve others after I have sat at His feet drinking in His word. I only have something to offer after I have pondered and questioned and listened and wrestled. 

So in the midst of the carpools and the curriculum, the dinner and the drama, the work and the worry, let us remember the source of our oxygen. We need to be intentional about sitting at His feet. We need to carve out the quiet so we can listen to His voice in the midst of the busyness.

In this day and age where we pride ourselves on how much multi-tasking we are capable of and how much we can cross off our to-do list in a day, we need to remember the value of being a Mary.

That’s why I love these verses even when they sometimes sting. It is a simple story with a not-so-simple reminder about making the right choice. While we do need to complete the tasks of Martha, our hearts need to yearn for the desires of Mary. Not because He makes us or even because He needs us to, but because we will be blessed when we do. We need it. It’s not an obligation, but an opportunity. It’s not an order, but our oxygen.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this example and reminder that while our tasks are important, they must not consume us to the point that we don’t make time for You. When we are becoming distracted with much serving like Martha, please remind us to, like Mary, choose the good part. That good part is You. For that, we thank You and praise You. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

If this is an area you would like to read more about, I highly recommend Joanna Weaver’s book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha WorldI have read this book several times and it is one I continue to read throughout the years. There is a reason she has sold almost a million copies!

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

What do you think? How are you intentional about finding room to breath in the Word of God?

This post was shared at: A Proverbs 31 WifeMy Daily Walk In His GraceKaitlyn Bouchillon3-D Lessons for LifeCreative Home KeeperA Little R&R, and New Mrs. Adventures.

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17 Responses to How To Have A Mary Heart In A Martha World

  1. Renewed_Daily

    Beautiful reminder, Heather! This is one of my favorite stories, as well. I need to get that book! 🙂 Heart Hugs, Shelly <3

  2. vickie morgan

    So well said!-I’m guilty of that very thing…seeing how much I can get done and not spending enough time with God. Many days I find myself saying short prayers sometimes all throughout the day. Now I’m not sure if anything is wrong with that but I know I need to sit down and be more intentional.more often.

  3. Lisa notes...

    Yes, yes. I always need these reminders. “We need to carve out the quiet so we can listen to His voice in the midst of the busyness.” Thanks for your gentle but powerful way of sharing this, Heather.

    • Heather

      Thank you, Lisa. “Gentle, but powerful” is exactly how I want my writing to come across. I am so thankful to God for giving me the words that do just that. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Courtney

    The Lord has recently been teaching me this lesson also. I have two toddlers right now and if I don’t get my quiet times in the morning with Him, my day is much different!

  5. Erin Kelly

    Finally reading this! 🙂 A great reminder I needed today. I went several days without scripture while we were on vacation and I can tell my soul thirsted after it and needed it. It’s the most important thing I need to do every single day — even when on vacation.

    • Heather

      Spending time in the Word while traveling or on vacation can be tough. I always find that I miss it desperately, too. Blessings to you and yours, my friend.

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