Are You a Mary or a Martha?

20 February 2012

I once heard it said that God created us to be human beings, not human doings.  Actually, I’ve heard this more than once… probably because I’m an over-active “doer” myself, usually with multiple to-do lists on the go at any given time.  

When it comes to running a MOPS group, there’s a whole lot of doing that needs to be done.  Each Leader needs to get stuff done with her own kids, before getting on with the stuff that needs doing for the meeting.  On top of that, Coordinators need to deal with the un-done things that didn’t quite come together for whatever reason!

When I was Coordinator of my group I was often in MOPS Mode from the time I woke up, mentally checking things off my list in an attempt to get everything done.  To others it may have seemed that this little duck was cruising along, but underneath the water my feet were paddling double-time.  I must confess that on some MOPS mornings, I was so busy doing what I convinced myself I needed to do, that I forgot to just be who I needed to be.

In those moments, I heard Jesus whisper to me, “Martha, Martha…”  Ok, so obviously my name isn’t actually Martha – but I knew what He meant.

At the Home of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42)

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Martha was a doer.  She was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”  She was frustrated because she was alone in doing what needed to be done.

She is me.  Is she you?


Jesus didn’t tell Martha that what she was doing was wrong.  What he said was that Mary had chosen better.  While Martha was wrapped up in all that she had to do, Mary was content to simply be.  She sat at the Master’s feet and listened.

At your next MOPS meeting, I want to encourage you to choose better.  Choose to sit at the Master’s feet first.  Tune in to Him.  Listen to what He has to say to you.  Put being in His presence at the top of every to-do list, and see how that changes your perspective about what is truly needed.

With love and blessings,



Catherine Oehlman

National Media Manager

MOPS Australia

6 Responses to “Are You a Mary or a Martha?”

  1. Miranda says:

    Thanks for this Cath – I am SO Martha! :/

  2. Vanessa Ralph says:

    Great reminder Cath! I’m definately a Martha too but so please we pray as a group at the beginning of the MOPS session to refocus 🙂

  3. Monique says:

    Oh yes, defiantely a Martha. I think most MOPS coordinators are, if we’re honest! Thanks for the gentle reminder Cath!

  4. Tracey says:

    I’m definitely a Martha, but trying to be more Mary…(when I’m not so busy!). It is always a great reminder. Thanks Cath.

  5. Yvette says:

    Thanks for your blog. I have been thinking on it all day. It seems to be my biggest struggle- remembering just to be with God, instead of trying to do for God.

    I am a Martha, for sure. But I am learning to be a Mary.

    But in defence of Martha, and so that we don’t get too down on ourselves…

    Martha was also pretty awesome. She loved and trusted Jesus. She believed he was the son of God when many others, others who had seen him do amazing things, didn’t believe.

    When Lazarus died, she ran out to meet him on the road, saying, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She believed Jesus was all powerful, and she went to him when she was hurt, angry and confused. She went straight to him, running, and was honest with him, expecting answers from him and knowing he had them.

    So I do want to be more like Mary, but being like Martha is not a bad start.

  6. cath says:

    Thank you Yvette. You added just what I needed to hear myself!
    “I want to be more like Mary, but being like Martha is not a bad start.”

    Cath xx

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