Was Martha wrong to be angry with Mary?

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"Jesus answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her."" – Luke 10:41-42 (MEV)

We all know the story of how Mary and Martha responded to Jesus Christ' visit. Mary sat down at Jesus' feet to listen to Him, while Martha was there, occupied by work. Was it wrong of Martha to be angry at Mary for leaving her to do all the work?

Martha's preoccupation

"As they went, He entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she came to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Then tell her to help me."" (Luke 10:38-40)

We read in Luke's account that Jesus went into a certain village and was welcomed by Martha. Perhaps Martha was good at making guests feel right at home: she was the one who welcomed Jesus into her home, and was the one doing "much serving." Mary, on the other hand, simply sat down to listen to what Jesus would say.

From the account, we understand that Martha was preoccupied with making sure things would go well. She was so concerned with making sure things were done well, she asked the Lord Jesus Himself to tell Mary to help her.

Martha was so concerned with her work, taking care of the guests. Mary, on the other hand, was concerned with simply being with the guest.

Now, let's talk about the question posed by this article's title. Was Martha wrong for being angry with Mary?

For her, she wasn't. To Jesus, she was.


Friends, we won't want to admit it, but many of us are like Martha. When we are in the presence of God, we'd rather make sure things go well. In our passion to serve, we are distracted from the most important thing of all: Jesus Christ Himself.

Many of us are like Martha. We can't sit down to pray because there's so much work to do. We can't stop for a while to deliberately read the Bible because we have deadlines. We can't even listen to the pastor preach because – "beep-beep" – somebody sent us a message on Facebook, asking for our attention.

Many of us find it hard to just let God do His thing. Martha-like worship leaders strive to "pull" the worship "higher." Martha-like preachers feel and think they must stick to the sermon notes, sometimes effectively ignoring the Spirit's leading to preach another message. Martha-like Christians can't focus on Christ because they're so focused on Christianity and the church: the religion and institution more than the Man they should obey, honor, and follow.

Mary simply sat down. "Never mind the things that can wait," she probably thought, "Jesus is here and I'm going to give my time and attention on Him." Are we like that?

I pray we'd be like Mary.