Servant Peril – Martha or Mary?

By Karen Polich

Are you a Martha or a Mary?

Early in Luke 10, Jesus lays out the simple concept of servanthood: Love God, love your neighbor. (The good Samaritan) Easy, right? That’s what we do to fulfill true servanthood by pouring ourselves into others. What happens when we become so busy serving that we lose sight of our relationship with the Lord? Without a deep relationship, what do we actually have to give others? Servant peril is no place we want to be.

Martha was always “doing”. Each time she is mentioned in the Bible, we encounter her at work. Marthas extend themselves, working, getting things done and making things happen. Where was Mary? At the feet of Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42, Listen to Pastor Michael M. Cook’s sermon, Servant Peril, here.)

Martha was quick to commit, worked hard and was distracted. The critical piece is her distraction. She was distracted FROM Jesus BY her ministry. This is what NOT to do when serving. We don’t want to forget Jesus and our relationship with Him. That relationship is the whole point!

“In order to say yes to Christ, you have to be willing to say no to something else.” – Michael M. Cook

Lost in her distracted busyness, Martha was out of touch. She was laying it out for Jesus, telling Him what to do. Can you imagine telling Jesus what to do? It disrupted the entire atmosphere. Jesus was grieved and corrective. He doesn’t love us for who we are or what we are doing. He loves us simply within the relationship we have with Him. All we need to do is choose Him first.

In our own lives, do we take the time to be a Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet before setting on the path of a Martha? Without investing in Jesus, we have little to offer anyone else.

When we are out of touch, we become disruptive to the Kingdom work happening around us.

What is the remedy for the Marthas? Before we tackle the work at hand, we need private time with God. Pray, spend real time with God, making it a priority. To have something to give, we need to fill our own lives. An empty vessel has nothing to share. Let’s choose Him first and then see what comes from our “doing”.







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