In my early years as a believer I was led to believe that the lesson in the story of Mary and Martha was that being a Martha was wrong (see Luke 10:38-42). Our goal should be in becoming more like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus.
However I have since come to believe differently. I believe that both women are representative of the person we are to be. If we could learn to love like Mary, and live like Martha our life would be much better balanced.
Living a balanced life is the best way to avoid stress, frustration, chaos and depression. When your world is out of balance there is always going to be at least one area in your life that suffers but usually more.
The music pastor of our church once showed us a wheel with spokes. Each spoke represented a different area of our life and he indicated how with just one spoke missing, the entire wheel would be off balance.
So how do we love like Mary? Jesus has to come first in our love and devotion. When we put Him first it seems like everything else ends up following suit. When we squeeze Him in (which is representative of leaning on the side of Martha), we won’t have the gas we need to drive through life.
We start at the feet of Jesus and it seems like we are suddenly empowered and ready to take on the day. But at the same time we certainly can’t spend all day sitting at the Lord’s feet. We have work to do. We have families to raise, jobs to work at, ministry to attend to, and the list goes on.
Yet while we are living like a Martha, we can still love like Mary. It is in those very things that we are kept “busy,” we are able to be both women. Love should be demonstrated in every area of our life.
I don’t think either woman was “wrong.” They both represent a balanced Christian life. They are an example to us of how to love like Mary and live like Martha.