Passage: John 12:1-8
Point: Throughout John and the other gospels, there are a few stories of Mary and Martha. These sisters are quite well-known, despite only being mentioned a handful of times. Each time we see them, they each have pretty typical responses. Martha is the practical one, the servant, the host. Mary, on the other hand, usually has a more emotional response towards Jesus, such as when she sat at his feet listening to him while Martha cooked dinner. Here in John 12, again we see that she has a passionate reaction and outpouring of her heart. Although Martha gets reprimanded in Luke for being too focused on working, both of these sisters teach us valuable lessons. We all have different relationships with God, different reactions to his love, and different gifts. Martha gives her time by serving Jesus and those around her, just as we are to be servants to those around us. However, it’s also ok to sit at Jesus’ feet and act on an impulse of love. Mary has a very giving and unselfish attitude.
I know I personally tend to be more like Martha. I prefer to keep myself busy, and don’t mind serving others. I have to make an effort to spend quiet time with God and “sit at his feet.” It’s not something that comes easy for me, and I have to work on it. It’s not enough to serve and work, even if you’re doing it all for God. We need to worship him, spend time with him, and receive the love he has for each of us.
When this story is told in Matthew 26 and Mark 14, there’s a verse added on to the end: “Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.” Jesus does value us when we use our gifts and talents and when we serve others, but what he really wants is for us to spend time with him.
Ponder: Do you tend to be more like Martha, a worker, or like Mary, a worshipper? Whomever you relate to, make an effort this week to be like the opposite.
For Families: Ask your kids what they like about going to church: do they like the music, the lessons, perhaps helping out in whatever ways they can? Talk about different personalities and how we all have different gifts to use in the church. As your kids grow up, help them discover how they respond to their faith.