38 Now while they were on their way, Jesus entered a village [called Bethany], and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord, is it of no concern to You that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me and do her part.” 41 But the Lord replied to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part [that which is to her advantage], which will not be taken away from her.”
One of the comparisons in the Bible (& therefore the church) is Mary vs. Martha. We read that Mary did the right thing by sitting at Jesus’ feet, but her sister Martha was “very busy & distracted with all of her serving responsibilities.” From this story, people use phrases like, “Be Mary not Martha.” “Which one are you?” “Do you love Jesus or do you serve?” “The Martha Syndrome,” etc.
This can be confusing because we’re also called to serve in the church, by using our gifts, you know, be the body… but… we’re not supposed to serve like Martha? There’s a tension there. So my question is: just because we don’t see Mary serving elsewhere, does that mean she never did? To say it another way: just because the story is about Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet and Martha is seen serving, doesn’t mean Mary never served & Martha never sat at Jesus’ feet.
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