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Mary & Martha-A Lesson in Taking Control of Our Time

Mary & Martha

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“Hurry now, get that quick.”
“He’s coming soon, hear the clock tick?”
Martha scurried all about, to everyone her orders shout.
“Put fresh water in that vase!”
“Oh, no, that chair is out of place.”
“Sweep the floor, do the dishes, fix a lunch of bread and fishes.”
Martha ran, to and fro, making everything just so.
“I see a mud spot on my floor, get the mop, Oh, here’s some more.”
“Get some water, make a stew, don’t worry I know what to do.”
“Oh goodness where could Mary be? I need help now, can’t she see?”
“Mary!” Martha called once more. Then she hurried out the door.
“I bet she’s out there having fun, playing, dancing in the sun.”
“While I stand here running quick, cleaning until I keel over sick.”
“Forget about her, no time to waste, I’ve got to finish.” She said with haste.
“Is dinner done?” she asked Miss Sue, “The same old bread, that will never do.”
“I want something fresh and new!”
As perspiration dripped from her brow, she heard someone talking now.
Turning left, walking quickly, she saw Mary sitting sweet.
Listening, sitting there, right by Jesus’ feet.
“Mary,” she called with clear frustration, “Rest is not your occupation!”
“Jesus, please forgive Mary for not helping me, I’ve called her twice now don’t you see?
“Martha,” Jesus said, “Rest a bit, over here now come and sit.”
“Come on now, your work can wait, it’s okay, it’s not too late.”
Martha obeyed, and sat down, a smile emerged, from her last frown.

I don’t know about you, but this humorous poem by Dory Miller about Mary and Martha really steps on my toes. I find myself so caught up in the details of life that I miss what God is doing around me.

As women, we tend to take on everything we are asked to do and more. Sometimes we are so busy that we are overwhelmed and frustrated with our lives. And that can lead to dissatisfaction and depression.

How can we as women take back control of our time so that we can honor God and serve Him better?

Read the story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42.

Are you tired and frustrated because your schedule is getting the best of you? Do you crave peace in your home but can’t make it happen because there is too much going on in your family? Do you want to spend more time with God?

Let’s walk through the story and see what we can take away to help us simplify our schedules and use our time to honor God.

1. We need to welcome Jesus into our homes.

We read in the first verse of this story that “a woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home.” Is Jesus welcome in your home? Do you allow Him to decide what to read, what to watch on television, or do you even bring Him up in conversations in your home?

We must remember that our homes or our lives do not need to be perfect before we welcome Jesus into our homes. Jesus was comfortable in any situation, so if you have a little dirt swept under your rug or skeletons in your closet, Jesus won’t mind. In fact, He won’t mind helping you clean up your home. That’s why He came to Earth.

Unless we welcome Jesus into our homes with open arms, anything we try to do will be useless. Won’t you invite Him in today?

2. We need to evaluate how we are spending our time.

As we read through this story we see that Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen, where Mary sat before Jesus hanging on every word He said. As women, we do tend to get bogged down in the details of life. We have families to care for plus all of the responsibilities of church and possibly work outside of the home. We also have other commitments we have taken on in our children’s schools, in the community, and with our extended family and friends.

So, how do we know we are spending our time wisely?

I suggest making two columns on a sheet of paper. Label one column Martha and the other column Mary. List under the Martha column the tasks you have during a week concerning your family, work, church, and community commitments. Then under the Mary column, list expressions of worship that you show God each week. These could include Bible study, prayer, and worshiping at your church.

Look at your two columns and see which has more tasks under it. I bet it will be the Martha column.

3. We need to choose the one essential thing.

In this story we read that Jesus said that Mary chose the one essential thing and it would not be taken from her. What is the one essential thing? It is listening and learning at Jesus’ feet.

It’s all the things we’ve listed under the Mary column. That’s not to say that the tasks under the Martha column are not important and can’t be done for God. It’s important to remember that our time with Jesus is how we honor God. It is through time spent at His feet listening and learning from Him that we can know what God wants us to do and how we can use our time wisely.

We need to evaluate all the tasks we placed under the Martha column by praying over them and asking God to reveal which ones we should consider dropping from our list. Is there a committee you’ve been on for several years because you feel it will fall apart if you’re not there? Do you feel you need to clean up after everyone in your house because they may not do as good a job as you do?

We need to let the unnecessary and unimportant go. I promise you that if you will pray over these tasks, God will show you what is most important. We have to make a choice to seek the one essential thing.

The next time you feel burdened by your schedule and feel your life spinning out of control, remember the story of Mary and Martha. God does not intend for us to live chaotic and hectic lives. As Proverbs 3:5-6 remind us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path.”

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