“But Martha…” Luke 10:40
As a mom, one thing I have been extremely conscious of is not comparing my boys to one another. I have read the research … Doing so creates self-doubt in a child, breeds jealousy, damages parent-child and sibling-sibling relationships and potentially catapults them as anxious adults.
Not a good idea.
That being said, it seems a little odd that here we are, reading the infallible Word of God, witnessing two siblings seemingly played one against the other. Why is this?
First, let’s note. Martha and Mary are not enemies, but sisters. We have much to learn from their examples, both good and bad, as they had much to learn from one another. I’ve come to not see this so much a comparison but a showcasing of their positives and their areas of growth. And if we aren’t aware of our insufficiencies then how would we ever change!?
What we are about to witness has little to do with Mary. Or Martha.
But ALL about Jesus… and what He does with our areas of lack.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
At first glance, the story of Mary and Martha DOES appear to be a highlight of Mary’s serene nature played against her anxious sister. A halo paired against a sweaty brow. But see with new eyes, the gift of an opportunity for Martha: God’s power to be on display and made perfect in her life.
And like it or not, God uses the example of those around us to highlight our own insufficiencies. Not to create strife, or make us feel less, but to make Himself more.
Example: Years ago I was battling severe anxiety. I was “anxious and troubled about many things” MUCH like sweet Martha. In this season, the contrast of the sweet, serene nature of my friend Tara was high on my radar. I wasn’t jealous of her zen spirit, I was simply drawn to it. So one day…. I called her. “Tara, would you help me?” She knew something I didn’t about rest. About breath. About seating herself at Jesus feet in the midst of raising little children and part-time homeschool. Our lives were similar but our stress-response was entirely different. The Lord used her example as a mirror. Not to compare us but instead to make his “power perfect in my weakness.”
A Mary-Martha mirror, if you will.
So. Who is this person for you? Maybe up to this point you have felt “less-than” by way of comparing your life to theirs instead of learning from them. The contrast has made you angry instead of hungry. Insecure instead of curious. Could it be that the Lord wants to use their example to make His power perfect in your weakness?
He is never out to shame us. That is NEVER His approach. Ever.
He is gentle. He is wise. And His goal is always your freedom and His glory.
Choosing What Is Better:
- Who is your Mary-Martha mirror? Write down their name and list out what you learn from them – without judgement or shame towards yourself.
- If this relationship has been a negative in your life, or you feel paired against them in an unhealthy way, let the Lord transform that thought. Could you allow yourself to see this relationship or person, not as a comparison but as a gift? Write down in your journal at least THREE gratitudes regarding this person and what God is teaching you.
- But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9. Let’s turn this passage into a prayer today. What “weaknesses” come to mind first for you? Now write out this prayer (or one in your own words….). Lord, Your grace is sufficient for me. Your power in made perfect in ___________________. Today, I boast and give thanks for this weakness because Your power can be at work there. Please teach me today how to rejoice in my weaknesses and not feel shame. Thank you for your grace.”
- And lastly, if you have harbored bitterness towards someone because you have been “compared” to them negatively, I strongly encourage you to pray about that and give those bitter feelings to God. The enemy loves resentment because it breeds anger and division. God has come to make us healthy and whole – this area of your heart included. Write out your thoughts or a prayer regarding any bitter emotions locked up inside of you – release them and be free today.