4 Ways Mary and Martha's Story Can Transform Your Life Today

Inside Out with Courtnaye
Updated May 21, 2024
4 Ways Mary and Martha's Story Can Transform Your Life Today

Have you ever read the story of Mary and Martha? It’s tucked within the gospels as a timeless story about Jesus and His disciples visiting two sisters on their way to Jerusalem. We can learn some great lessons from their story.

It all starts with Martha welcoming Jesus into her home. She begins busily preparing dinner with all the details for the visit. Meanwhile, Mary is so mesmerized by the fact that Jesus is there with them that she takes a seat right at His feet. It appears as if she simply wants to soak this precious moment in and learn all that she can from Him. After all, she was sitting before the Master Teacher.

Sometimes, in life, we can get so busy doing all the things. We’re busy at work, at home, with family and friends, and in ministry. Often, we can become so busy with all the details and demands of life that we miss moments with Jesus, just as Martha did. 

In fact, as Martha became so upset with her sister, she actually wanted Jesus to correct Mary for not helping her do all the things. Yet, Jesus taught her a quick and valuable lesson, and it was that Mary had discovered the most important thing and that it was not going to be taken away from her. We can gain a few great life lessons from their story. 

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1. The Habit of Consistent Time with God is Transformational

Most of us have heard that practice makes permanent. I actually like it in this sense, because making a practice of spending time in God’s presence as a permanent fixture in our lives is key to close fellowship and spiritual growth. When we intentionally pause to spend unhurried time with the One who created us, we can then receive wisdom, peace, strength, comfort, and instruction for the day ahead. When we practice being in His presence, we can encounter so much. So, take some time to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn from Him, just as Mary did. First Chronicles 16:11 reminds us, 

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually.”

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2. Overcoming Modern Distractions to Prioritize Jesus

2. Overcoming Modern Distractions to Prioritize Jesus

We live in a time when we are bombarded with distractions of many kinds. If you are on social media, then you know the constant barrage of alerts on your phone dinging for time and attention. If you work from home or in the office, then you probably receive and must respond to countless emails throughout your day. Again, there are so many things vying for our attention, and they all seem important (and some are). Yet, when Martha presses Jesus to have Mary get up to help her in the kitchen, He gently tells her that Mary has discovered the most important thing for the day. The lesson for us today is to eliminate any distractions that could potentially get in the way or take precedence over spending time with Jesus. Matthew 6:33 instructs, 

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.”

Photo Credit: Courtney Clayton/Unsplash

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3. Learning to Let Go of Frustration to Embrace Rest.

Without a doubt, we can see that Martha was frustrated with her sister because she wasn’t helping her do all the things for Jesus. Have you ever felt frustrated when you were trying to get things done, but then someone said, “Hold on, let me pray about it first.” What that individual demonstrated was a Mary and Martha masterclass! The lesson here is to release the frustration. Rest. The work will get done. Because when Jesus wants to spend time with you, know that you have biblical permission to cease from the labors and take a load off to sit and sup with the Master Teacher.  Jesus taught in Matthew 11:28-29

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gently and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”    

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woman looking up at sky thinking

4. Embrace the Power of Pausing, Praying, and Pondering

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “meditate” means to reflect or ponder. In the book of Psalms, we often see the word “selah,” which means to pause and consider. That is what Jesus wants us to do when we take the time to sit at His feet as He teaches us something in the written word. This reminds me of what Psalm 119:15-16 states, 

“I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word.” 

As you go about your day, remember the story of Mary and Martha. It’s definitely one of my favorite Bible stories. It is a constant reminder of how important it is for us to take intentional time to pause, pray, and ponder as the Lord pours into us. While we do have work to do (just as Martha demonstrated), may we also discover and embrace the significance of being in Christ’s presence, while watching out for distractions and frustrations, as we meditate on the lessons we have learned when the Master Teacher wants to visit with us. 

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/LillyRoadstones

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Courtnaye Richard is the founder of Inside Out with Courtnaye, a ministry that helps women grow in Christ, character, and calling. She is an author and sought-out speaker. Her speaking appearances include She Speaks, Hope*Writers Tuesday Teaching, Christian Parenting Conference, and Entrusted Women’s Conference. In addition, her blog and podcast, Inside Out with Courtnaye reaches thousands of women across the globe! She is also the founder of the faith-based marketing and mentorship agency, Inside Out Media Group, LLC, where she’s worked with platforms such as PBS, CBN, TCT Networks, and Yahoo. Connect with her at www.courtnayerichard.com or on Instagram @insideoutwithcourtnaye.

Click here to see the full list of Inside Out with Courtnaye episodes!

Originally published Tuesday, 21 May 2024.