Kicking Martha in the Shin

I’m a recovering Martha. In Luke 10, Mary and Martha are entertaining Jesus for dinner. Mary sits with Jesus and listens to Him while Martha bustles around, making preparations. A misguided hostess, she is more focused on the pot roast than the person she’s entertaining.

Not that I am by ANY means a Type A personality. My housekeeping is often a damage control approach instead of a proactive one. Because of these poor habits, I had Martha-like qualities that took me away from what mattered. I made myself busy, even frantic at times when guests were coming.

Instead of being excited to minister with a warm presence to people coming over, I was worried about hiding clutter and making everything just-so for the meal. My concern with appearances had become more important than the substance of my connection to my guests.

A wholly unholy habit of barking orders and unleashing emotional tirades used to be the crowning glory of my preparations for guests. Cleaning up and making sure things were organized superseded what really mattered – my guests and my family.

Sure, the food was great and things looked tidy, but by the time my guests arrived I was too resentful and wound up to truly enjoy the visit. This is to say nothing of how my poor husband and children must have felt listening to my ranting.

My concern with appearances had become more important than the substance of my connection to my guests.

So it was with Martha. In fact, she complained to Jesus, saying:

“Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Luke 10:40

Jesus, ever-wise and loving, redirected Martha’s focus. Mary chose to spend time listening carefully at His feet. She gained much through that choice. What a powerful moment it must have been.

Imagine the very Savior of the world sharing face-to-face from the heart with you. Then imagine being so busy scrambling to get things just right that you miss out on it.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:41-42

Mary’s decision to sit and listen to Jesus, to allow Him to minister to her and to give Him her devoted attention, is a lesson to all the Marthas out there. I’m kicking Martha in the shin and remembering that my guests are the top priority.

God forgive me for focusing more on appearances than relationships. Help me to steward my time and my home well so that entertaining isn’t a stressful event. May my home be a place where people feel safe and welcome, even if everything isn’t perfectly neat and the roast is a little overdone.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Stewardship Series Week 1: In Pursuit of Progress and No More Please: The Dangerous Dance With Excess


Hi! I’m Tracy…Christ-follower, wife, mama, writer, blogger, speaker, teacher, dreamer. I love Earl Grey Tea and quiet mornings. Here at Earl Grey and Yellow, the focus is striving to be faithful and appreciate the small things. So glad you stopped by. Please have a look around and subscribe to our newsletter and social media to stay connected.

12 thoughts on “Kicking Martha in the Shin

  1. WOW…I’M SUCH A MARTHA!!! Although my home is always clean and neat…I want to
    be able to welcome guests at anytime. Because of this I spend early morning everyday
    straightening up, vacuuming, wiping counters, dust mopping and Swiffering the kitchen
    and bathroom floors, the toilet is cleaned everyday..etc. It’s not until I have finished
    everything (sometimes at bedtime) that I take the time to pray and listen to the Lord…to
    let Him know how much I love Him and to be grateful for His Grace and Mercy!!! Today
    will be different!!! Thank you Tracy – you hit home with me so many times…I would like to
    close by saying : ‘Lord…help me to seek You and the Kingdom first and know You will put
    everything in it’s place for me. And Thank You for Tracy who ministers to me even when
    she doesn’t even know it.’ Have a blessed day, my friend!!

  2. I think so many of us can relate.
    Martha wasn’t wrong she was just
    misguided. It’s good, I think, to have
    an equal balance between Mary and
    Martha however there are moments
    when we need to be like Mary. Jesus
    said she chose the better one. His
    presence will always be better than
    all the other thing we can do or

  3. Nice post! My mom had a plaque on the wall that said, “My house is clean enough to be
    healthy and dirty enough to be happy.” I’ve taken a page from her book. I still bustle about
    when company is coming, but only to ensure the house doesn’t make them uncomfortable.
    Still, I’m not quite Mary either…as I might sit at His feet, but my mind seems to be more
    concerned about whether I’m assuming the POSTURE of listening rather than actually
    listening… 🙁 Working on it…

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