Where is the missing piece to the Mary and Martha puzzle?
The Mary and Martha puzzle has a piece missing!
Mary and Martha have not attracted much attention lately. It seems Luke 10:38-42 has been squeezed dry of any new insights. What more is there to say about the crotchety old aunts? Mary got it right, Martha got it “less right.” Be more like Mary; repress our Martha side. Mary’s activities are most important and need to be promoted; Martha’s gifts are also important, but give them short shrift. No more gourmet meals, less embroidery, and a little dirt in the corners is a sign of correct priorities.
How does the traditional understanding of Luke 10:38-42 sound to different audiences? Many women and men spend hours a day cleaning, waiting on people, office work, taking care of other families’ children, or sewing our clothes in sweatshops. After a long commute home, the second shift waits. How can a woman or man keep up a positive mental state when all her or his waking hours are spent in an activity that is considered less than ideal? The pressure is always on to get some exercise, look presentable, prepare healthy food, and get enough sleep. One does have to take care of the body that propels all of this service. Then where does the study time come from? Must we always consider ourselves in a state of inadequacy for not carving out enough time for “study at the feet?”
Have you ever wondered if there is something more to the story of Mary and Martha? Is a large piece of the puzzle missing? Can you make peace with Luke 10:38-42 as you understand it now?
(Excerpt from a follow-up book to The New Perspective on Mary and Martha: Don’t Preach Mary and Martha Until you Read This!