Jesus Calling – Mary vs. Martha

My daily devotional for this year is from the book, “Jesus Calling“, by Sarah Young.  It’s similar to the classic, “God Calling“, but (for me), more contemporary.  I wanted something simpler for this year, that I could contemplate throughout the day.

However, I’ve already had a few meltdowns with it.  It might be short, but I’ve had things to work out each day as I read it.  A fellow blogger, Derek at No Throw Aways, had asked me what I thought of the book and I did a little venting – just a little:

Jesus Calling is a great book so far, but I’ve had to really do some thinking and praying about what is in there. I agree with it, but am really resistant right now. It’s the place I’m at, not the book.

For example, on day 1, it challenges us to come eager to be changed. I’m tired of change. I’m tired of my dreams being broken. I’ve been obedient and pretty much watched many things important to me get destroyed in the process. I’m getting better on that one after prayer but after all these years, it still hurts.

It also uses the Mary vs. Martha verses. You know what? I deal with a bunch of Mary’s in a particular situation. They dump all the work on everyone else so they can fritter off for fun. You know, the real stuff still has to get done and I’m tired of being one of the ones doing it. The Mary’s get to sit at Jesus feet because frankly, they don’t do their share of the work so everyone can sit at Jesus feet. Selfish and irresponsible is what I call it. So I haven’t quite worked through that one yet.

The other days haven’t been much easier. I’m not much liking starting the days upset, but am glad it’s simple enough for me to retain throughout the day and ponder.

Derek’s a youth pastor at the Cape Cod Bible Alliance Church.  He wrote me back a wonderful response that helped me to reset (he granted me permission to share his note back):

Yes, change is hard for sure, but it is a part of becoming a disciple of Jesus. Frustrations come because there is trouble in this world and a lot of it. Does that take away from God’s goodness or plan? No, it really doesn’t. So, I would encourage you to stick with it and consider these thoughts as important to your long term growth.

Mary and Martha is a great story about priorities. I understand what it is like to deal with people who don’t pull their weight, but this is not the most specific application of that passage. The point really is that we can get sidetracked with things that really don’t matter and miss what really matters; spending time with Jesus.

Yes, things need to get done. I have 4 children and a full time job and masters degree, work …..etc…etc…etc…So, we can’t just sit around. At the same time, the focus is on abiding in Christ (John 15)…following Him, walking with Him and pondering the Word as you go about your life. (as you are).  This passage does not give credence to laziness. The Bible has a lot to say about that as well– Read through Proverbs for that.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

It took me a few more days to realize that while I was frustrated with some Mary’s in my life, I’ve also dealt with the Martha’s, who were so busy doing that they couldn’t enjoy being nor would they let anyone else enjoy it either.  They were so busy with the superficial, they missed what was really going on.

The key is balance.  Had Mary helped more and Martha expected less (much less), both could have sat at Jesus feet to absorb his teachings.

I’ve been the Martha too.  It’s easy to fall into that trap.  As a working mother, I ran from work to the kitchen to homework to bed.  It was hard carving out quality or quantity time to spend with my daughter or husband.  I had a little orange tabby cat during that time.  He wasn’t much for cuddling, but when he wanted attention, he was dead last in my priorities.  He was lucky to have a few minutes in my lap on the weekends.  I felt bad for him, but there just wasn’t enough time to do it all.

Did I spend time at Jesus feet?  I don’t remember.  There were a lot of heartbreaks during that time.  The good times barely outweighed the bad times.  I can remember not trusting God, but praying anyhow.  I read through the Bible – all of it – several times, often using The Daily Walk.  So I guess there was a part of me that was Mary and sat at Jesus feet, however rushed or stressed it might have been.

I’ll share more about my thoughts from Jesus Calling throughout the year.  For now, I leave you with my thoughts on Martha and Mary for you to consider in your own life.  There’s always a need for balance, to get things done but to spend time with God also.  I’m not the only one who seesaws between the two and knowing that helps me to recognize it faster and make whatever adjustments I need.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

My post yesterday about taking a walk neglected to mention that over at A Daily Life, I provided other links from bloggers who wrote about their walks.  Today post is a book review on “Turning Personal Experiences Into Parables” by Eddie Jones and Cindy Sproles.

Today’s small stones:

The car is so cold.  Even with my gloves on, I feel the cold.  Finally, the temperature gauge starts moving.  I turn on the heater, yank off my glove, and feel the warm air flow over my stiff fingers.  I turn my hand this way and that, then take off my other glove to hold it over the vent on the other side.  I redirect the air to my feet – ahhhh, such bliss.  I start to smile as I warm up, happy to be comfortable as I drive.

Cats Faith

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I am a backyard adventurer, philosopher and observer, recording my life in journals and photographs. Visit my blog at

9 Comments Leave a comment

  1. So glad I just found you. I can relate to your honest testimony. I started a new book this year. It is not a long book and given the speed with which I usually read I figured I would be through it relatively fast. Well wouldn’t you know God had another plan. Costly Grace, by Jon Walked is a contemporary view of Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. I can’t read more than a page or two at a time. It is really challenging me at a whole new level. Change doesn’t usually come hard for me as I get easily bored but this is tough. I do know in my heart however that He always has my best interest in mind.
    Thanks for sharing. I will be reading along with you throughout the year and hope you would consider reading along with me as well.

    • Thank you for your compliment and for sharing what God is doing in your life. I plan to visit your blog and subscribe and see what you’re up to.

      Thanks so much for subscribing!

  2. Nancy: wonderful post. I hear what you are saying about change and dreams dashed. we soldier on but boy it is hard to say yes to change in advance! That is what I pray for grace for. To have a heart that will welcome change and challenge. Not just handle them but welcome them with an open heart.

    • True, Kate, but I also know that my heart doesn’t have to be there for things to happen. Sometimes I just have to step out and wait for the joy to catch up later. I’m pretty burned out though on welcoming change with an open heart. Of course, if you saw ALL the prayers I have for this year, that probably wouldn’t be true either. Some of those prayers will cause huge changes. I’m now going in circles. I’m so glad God loves us regardless.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Nancy. It’s good to get “uncomfortable.” Sometimes it’s our inner conviction, we know something isn’t quite right in our hearts. I remember reading the gospels, and how hard some of Jesus’ words were. But once I grew into it, I could better understand what He was teaching. The hardest prayer for me was, “Thy will be done.” Once I realized His plan is far better than what I could ever plan for myself, it was easier to trust Him with everything.

    • Thanks for the words of wisdom. The problem I had with doing his will was how much of my own life got destroyed in the process. Years later, I can see what some of the benefits were for it, but I still don’t understand why I had to be so decimated in some really important things. Yes, there is the being obedient thing, but it’s hard when others get their prayers answered and follow their passions while I get left behind.

      This wasn’t quite the answer I meant to type up. I have to give some thought and prayer to writing this up in a positive light that would be a blessing to others, including me.

      I will say though, that I know people who got what they wanted and were / are miserable for it. I didn’t get much of anything that I prayed for, but I’ve been content and happy.

    • Thanks so much for the encouragement. After I’d gotten your answer and thought it over a lot more, it made so much more sense to me. Each day this devotional is giving me something to work on!

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