Seek balance.

Last Sunday, our pastor preached on Mary and Martha. When I saw the scripture in the bulletin, I heaved a great sigh. I get so sick of people praising Mary and putting Martha down. In part, this is because I identify with Martha. I’m a do-er. But it is also because I suspect that most of the people condemning Martha benefit from someone like Martha.

And our minister acknowledged this. In his mind, every successful church exists because of the women who serve meals, clean the building, help with mailings, or whatever.

That said, I had never considered the full implications of Mary listening at Christ’s feet. I had forgotten that women were not allowed to study the Torah. In fact, one rabbi who lived shortly after Christ stated that rather than let women study the Torah, it should be burned.

Now, think about that for a moment.

Female labor is good. Female knowledge is not. This is an idea that many of us are familiar with but we tend to forget that we’ve heard it all before when we listen to this passage. I only realized as I was writing this that although I identify with Martha, I am a lot like Mary. My curiosity knows no bounds. How strange that it was only today that I realized how like Mary I am.

Whether you naturally identify more with Mary or with Martha, what we all really need is to strive for balance. We need the Martha. There’s no doubt about that because it is Martha who gets things done, but we also need Mary to listen for the voice of Christ.

Without Mary, we have no discernment. Without Martha, we will be limited in what we accomplish. To be effective, we need to find within ourselves a bit of both.

–SueBE