Why I Keep Having that Martha Heart

My Bible reading today covered Luke 10, specifically Mary and Martha:

 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:40-42

No matter how many times I read this passage, it always resonates with me. It pricks my heart and hits me in the gut.

Martha was distracted with serving

I, too, get so caught up in the daily grind – the laundry, the dishes, the bathroom, the clutter. My eyes are distracted with the here and now and not focused on the eternal: heaven, the souls within my care, the influence I have on those around me, both friends and family.

[She] said, “Lord, do you not care….?”

I, too, get overwhelmed by feelings and cry out – to God or sometimes I spill over on the people around me. Like Martha, I feel all the feels: guilt, frustration, anxiety, stress and the list goes on. I get overwhelmed and I erupt.

You are anxious and troubled about many things

Yes! I am, Lord. I try to make excuses. I try to make them seem reasonable with my to do lists and my planning, but the truth is I’m worried. Anxious. Troubled.

But one thing is necessary.

What is that thing? That one thing? That elusive thing?

Because, I think all of us can empathize with this passage. We understand Martha because we live like Martha. We want to be Mary but we keep making the wrong choice.

Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.

Mary chose Jesus. It was that simple – it was that difficult.

Because, you see, it’s not a one time choice. It’s not that I can just decide here and now to be like Mary. It’s a daily choice. It’s an hourly choice. It’s a choice that must be made when I feel the darkness closing in, when the laundry heaps up, when the kids whine, when I am on hold with that 1-800 number.

What makes us like Martha is that we get distracted, anxious, and troubled about the things surrounding us. We fail to see that Jesus is near –  that he is within reach. That he is calling to us – not in a loud or overbearing way. He quietly waits, yearning for us to come to him.

He wants us, like Mary, to choose to sit at his feet.

But sitting at His feet is not a guarantee. It must come first – before the dishes, before the doctors’ appointments, before the bath times and the cooking and the animal crackers.

Every day. Every hour. Every choice.

Help me, Lord, to have Mary’s heart.


  1. Beautiful and spot on, dear Tracy. I hold my breath when I read Martha’s words–is she really telling Jesus what to do?? And yet my prayers often sound like Martha–“Here’s my list, Lord; tell someone to help me.” This morning as I reached for my song book after Bible reading, a song was already in my head. It begins, “Lord, speak to me that I may speak in living echoes of Thy tone.” I can’t learn to do that unless I listen to His words, His tone, like Mary. Thanks for the reminder. Love you so much. Deb


  2. Beautifully said ❤️ You do amazingly well with keeping Mary at the forefront of your life. It is a Mary thing to take time to remind us to make it a goal each day.
    With your children you only have so many years, so go easy on yourself- your teaching moments are “Mary” time. Planting seeds in the garden with them is a beautiful way. Love you


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