The Martha Struggle…

I am a part of a Bible study going through A Discipleship Journey book by David Buehring.

The book is more or less the type of study that whatever you put into it, is what you will get out of it. On the surface it seems simple, basic, and maybe a bit obvious in content. However, with all the points and across each chapter there is scripture to back it up… and we were encouraged to look up the passages “unless we know them by heart and could spit them out.”

Admittedly, I was more interested in the people in the group doing the study than actually the study itself. However, I have discovered that this study actually does help you to see correlations and scripture differently than if I would be just reading the Bible. The way things are put together and connected helps link themes and threads throughout scripture; which is always interesting to me.

I also find that in my head, I always have more time than it takes in reality to actually go through each chapter. – accidental procrastination at its finest.

Recently, we were talking and learning about hearing the voice of God. In the study, it took us through where and how God speaks throughout scripture… Which of course, also lead us to talking through the various things that get in the way of us hearing His voice.

In Luke, there’s a part that talks about Jesus going to visit and stay with two sisters.. Mary and Martha. Mary is enthralled, and just sitting at the feet of Jesus soaking it all in, while Martha is busy trying to get dinner together and all the ‘things’ involved with having guests come and stay. I imagine she wanted everything to be perfect.. Viewing her diligence and hospitality as being her gifting and how she showed her love and care for her guests.

If you don’t know the story, Martha finally gets frustrated and goes to Jesus complaining and asking Him, ‘Don’t you care that I’m doing all of these things and Mary is being lazy and sitting around letting me do all the work? I too would love to join but things have to get done!’ (My own paraphrase of what she said)

Can’t you just feel her frustration? – ‘No one will eat if EVERYONE just sat around all day listening to Jesus talk! It is just logical and practical!’ (Still my own addition to the thoughts of Martha)

Martha WANTS to sit and listen too.. But her understanding of responsibility requires her to get up and do the work needed.

So, how does Jesus respond?… By essentially telling Martha to leave Mary alone, she’s chosen the ‘better’ path.

Because I love thinking through ‘what would I do if I were in that situation?…

I would be so mad if I were her!

My response would probably have been to cross my arms, get my sassy face on, and say: ‘ok, fine then. I too will sit, and then no one will get dinner and we will all starve! Then what will we do?’
If you know me, you’ve likely experienced my logic and sass rolled into one moment (it happens frequently)!

However, because Jesus is the amazing teacher/God rolled into one, He would likely respond reproachfully. Something along the lines of how I don’t ‘need’ to do anything for Him, His kingdom is perfectly capable without me… and then He would do another miracle and snap His fingers giving everyone a food spread like only God could give…


And… I would probably still be mad..

But more out of pride and defiance than anything legitimate… Only to be repentant and understanding of how wrong I was late into the night as I mulled it over when I should have been sleeping.

The struggle is SO real.

Things have to get done. Life has to have people who are doers, movers and shakers!.. How can it be that the one who is ‘lazy’ and sitting to learn be the one who has chosen correctly?!
The heart. It all (always) boils down to the heart.

How do we know? Because of passages like Matthew 25 where it was the people who have DONE things and loved people who truly knew him.

It all always boils down to a heart thing.

God does not need our work, we are not doing Him any favors when we get too busy in our ministry to know Him well.

I am in a season of too busy in ministry… Actually no, that is not accurate. I’m too lazy in my free time by choosing to watch tv online rather than open my Bible. 😒

It is definitely a good reminder of the heart of my actions needing to be about taking the time to sit and soak in time with Jesus, and knowing when it is the time and place to do things… But, not to confuse the busyness with being a good replacement of time spent.




This last weekend I took Easter off (yes, I work at a church and decided I needed a break and took vacation) and headed down to Tennessee and the Smokey Mountains to seclude myself in a cabin with several of my best friends. We spent our days hiking trails, crossing rivers, exploring waterfalls, and eating. While our adventures caused all of us to be a little sore and tired by the end of the weekend, it never stops amazing me how much being out in nature and hearing water rushing touches and refreshes my soul.

One of my favorite things about this weekend is that it was the continuation of the annual vacation with two of my favorite people in the whole world, and included new people in our tradition this year!… I can easily say I cherish this vacation every year. There is just something about being purposeful year after year about carving out time to be around people who know you, know your heart, and love you despite the shortcomings.


There were several times throughout this trip where I felt as though I could literally feel the stress peeling off. Even the stressful points of the weekend (thank you stupid amounts of traffic adding an hour in a half to the trip down) were not nearly as bad because I knew I didn’t have to react or respond any particular way. Nothing was expected of me except to just be me.


Even down to the simplest of things, such as crossing a river. Over and over again we crossed rivers.. Some of the rivers required us to jump, others to balance on logs, and then a few meant getting from rock to rock. Many times I mentally processed through, “I think I can make this alone…” or “I’m not sure I’ll make it across dry, but I have to try..” and then, the guys would somehow always be there extending their hand to help us across. It was such an interesting thing to me that in the midst of figuring out if I could make the trek across dry, deciding if I needed the hand, and then realizing I appreciated knowing that I didn’t have to prove anything and I had the help there to make sure I got across dry.

I did not have to be capable of crossing on my own.


Instead, I could accept the help and know it didn’t make me anything other than exactly who I am.

As simple as it sounds, I realized this weekend that so many times I am naturally focused on accomplishing things, which means, I have to be seen as capable. In order to be seen as able, I often intentionally portray confidence, certainty, and assuredness (is that even a word?). I mean, do not get me wrong, most of the time those are accurate portrayals of how I feel, but in many situations I amp them up for the benefit of those around me because they need to feed off of the confidence of someone else.

What a dramatically different feeling to do something as simple as accept a hand over and over, not because I was seen as incapable of getting across the rivers, but because they knew I would simply feel better with help. The entire thing was entirely simple. But, even more impactful was the fact that I knew they did not view me or going out of their way to help as annoying, frustrating or ridiculous.

I was safe.

In every sense of the word I was safe. The entire weekend I was safe. I could talk, remain silent, laugh, joke, ask questions, walk, sit, sleep, explore, and in all moments I was safe. I did not have to guard emotions or actions, I did not have to decide if it was a good idea to say something; I was simply safe in the midst of some of my best friends. What a profoundly simple reboot… Mixed all of that with the outdoors, being active, and the sound of water, it was pretty much the most perfect thing ever at exactly the right time.

IMG_1236 IMG_1361