In Martha’s Defense

I have listened to the well-meaning words of those who leave mothers feeling guilty, condemned. The posts and poetry, the pictures, the pundits all saying, “quit worrying about your home, don’t let cleaning keep you from loving.” And mom’s are left feeling like you just can’t win.

The bible is often quoted in these instances, the story of Martha and Mary.

One time Jesus came to visit them. Martha was busy with preparations and soon became frustrated because Mary, her sister, wasn’t helping. Jesus brings a gentle reminder to Martha that His presence, His person was and still is more important than work.

This is true and I would certainly not contradict my King. But this has been overemphasized by many. I have seen church people that looked down on the servant-minded. “Service is not my gifting,” they claim. “I am more of a Mary than a Martha.” Their tone is often so superior.

No one wants to starve to feel assured of a mother’s love. No one feels cherished by a messy, dirty house. Jesus never intended for work to cease because He was and is with us.

A mother’s love is shown, not only in holding and reading stories, but in cleaning and cooking, in bringing order into the chaos that life throws at us.

And our love for Jesus is shown, not only in lifted hands and sweeping melodies, but in cleaning toilets, serving meals and setting boundaries that let people know they are safe.

Martha needed a little more of Mary in her. And I guarantee, Mary’s passion for her King was demonstrated by more than just sitting at His feet.

May that be said of us, too.


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