In some of my previous blogs, (The Gift of Laughter, and Grace is Unfair), I made references to the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible. I am honored to present the thoughts of author, Katie M. Reid, on the story of Mary and Martha. Katie Reid has written the book, Made Like Martha, and has some encouraging insights into this story. I think she is really going to help us to understand God’s grace and love towards all of us as women, whether we are—Made like Martha or like Mary. Katie is also the wife of Adam Reid, Head Pastor at Central Church, and the mother of 5 children!!
1. Why do you think the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10 causes so many women to feel guilty? Since Jesus told Martha that she was worried and distracted and that her sister Mary had chosen what was better, we often feel guilty for being wired like Martha. We feel like Mary was the poster child for getting it right and that Martha was discounted because she was worried and distracted. In John 11:5 we see that Jesus loved Martha and her siblings. His correction wasn’t a scolding but an invitation to walk in freedom instead of fret. Many of us have tried to shed the skin of efficiency because we’ve misinterpreted this passage to mean there is something wrong with being made like Martha.
2. We usually assume that Jesus was criticizing Martha for working too hard. Would you say that is true? I don’t think Jesus was criticizing Martha’s work ethic here. In fact, unless He was going to multiply loaves and fish, fast from a meal, or have a late dinner, someone had to prepare the food. Instead, Jesus addressed Martha’s heart in Luke 10. He wasn’t asking her to stop being a doer, but He was reminding her that she was a daughter too. We assume that Jesus was asking Martha to sit down physically like Mary was, but what if He was inviting her soul to rest—even while she continued working? In John 12:2, we see that Martha is serving again, yet Jesus does not correct her this time. Here, Martha serves from a place of strength and peace instead of a place of striving and stress.
3. What drew you to write a book about the story of Mary and Martha? What is unique about your interpretation of this story? If Martha had a fan club, I would be president of it. I so relate to Martha and her ultraresponsible ways. For years, this passage in Luke 10 bothered me. If nobody works, nobody eats, right? I really wanted Jesus to tell Mary to get up and help her sister out. But upon closer examination, I realized how much Jesus loved Martha and wanted her to know that too. He wasn’t asking her to neglect her responsibilities but to trust Him to care for her. Made Like Martha is written for those who love checking things off their to-do lists and who may feel some angst when they read this account in Luke. It is written from the perspective of a doer for other doers (although Mary-types are enjoying it too…it is helping them understand their Martha-friends better).
4. You write in your book, Made Like Martha, that many of us assume that God is mad at us or disappointed in us. Why do you think that is? When you view the world through the lens of perfectionism, you often feel frustrated with yourself and others (and even God) for things not turning out like you want (or expect) them to. For almost forty years I felt like God was mad or disappointed in me. I was expecting myself to be flawless, which is completely unrealistic. It was a losing battle. BUT, God knew, because of our sin, that we could not attain perfection apart from His supernatural intervention. So God sent His unblemished and only Son to die for our sins (past, present, and future) and rise again. If we choose to believe in Jesus as Savior and confess Him as Lord, we are made clean; perfected, because of what Christ did on our behalf. For me, the healing came when I realized that Jesus satisfied God’s wrath for sin and that His love for me was not based on whether I succeeded or failed. If we are in Christ, our position in His heart is secure. He loves us…even when we are shortfused, whether or not we have a quiet time, even in the midst of tackling our to-do lists.
Thank you so much for your thoughts Katie Reid!! You have blessed us with your insights!!
We are encouraged!!