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Mary Martha

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Thank you for allowing me to speak of my friend and co-worker, and my sister in Christ, Ms. Bridges. Today I want to read a brief passage of scripture and make a couple of comments very briefly. The scripture that I want to read is found in Luke chapter 10, verses 38-42.

Luke 10:38-42

38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.


What we have here is the very first time that Mary and Martha meet Jesus.  They were both born again, but had never met Jesus. Martha had extended an invitation to Jesus to come to their home, and it had probably blown her mind that He had accepted the invitation. You see, Jesus as a celebrity, but he accepted the invitation.

One sister is producing human good, and the other is producing Divine good.

The one producing human good is filled with frustration. The other is a monument to Divine good. There is a contrast between the two.

We’re going to be talking about attitude.  In 1 Cor. 3 it talks about standing before the Lord on judgment day.  What will we have on our foundation?  Gold, silver, precious stone, or wood, hay and stubble?  Wood, hay and stubble is not sin.  That was judged at the Cross.

 He won’t say, “Oh, here’s some adultery on your foundation.  We’re going to burn that up.  Here’s stealing, and whoosh, we’ll burn that up, too.  Wood, hay and stubble is good things you did for the Lord, but you were out of fellowship when you did it.  It was all done out of wrong motives.

  It could be giving money.  You could give a big offering thinking, “I’m going to bribe God into blessing me.”  You couldn’t buy your salvation and you sure can’t buy your fellowship.  Maybe you’re praying and fasting thinking, “I’m really going to impress God.”

 Nothing impresses God except Jesus.  If you flow in Jesus then you’ll really impress God.  If you’re flowing in your own strength, good works, then God compares all of that to filthy rags.

What we have – gold, silver, precious stone = divine good.

Wood, hay and stubble = human good.

They look the same, but one is done from a pure heart before God.  The other is done from wrong motives with an impure heart before God. 

David sinned with Bathsheba. He was out of fellowship with God.  He may still have been going to church and giving money, but it was phony because of sin in his life.  At that time he was piling up wood, hay and stubble.

Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, shows her attitude behind what she is doing. She is listening to the Word of God. She has probably helped Martha many times, but this time, faced with the choice of serving biscuits, or sitting at Jesus’ feet, and hearing the Word of God, she thinks, “forget the biscuits, I’m going to worship Jesus, I’m going to listen to the Word of God.”  She had a choice.  Help Martha or sit with Jesus. 

She probably didn’t even care what they would eat that night.  She was going to feast upon the words of Jesus.  She is feasting upon what Jesus in verse 42 calls the better part.  The Greek says, “better dish”.  In other words, the Word of God is more important than our necessary food. 

In verse 40, it says that “Martha was cumbered about with much serving and came to Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?’”  The word “cumbered” means worried or burdened.

  She was the only one doing anything so here we have Jesus and twelve disciples all sitting around.  Martha had opened up the house to them.  The Bible says that she had made special accommodation for them.  She had made the food, made sure the house was just right and had probably vacuumed the house three or four times, she made sure all the pillows were straight and had spent hours in the kitchen.

By the time the food was to be served, she was stressed out and cumbered, upset, and burdened.  What was Mary’s attitude?  It was peace and joy while Martha was running around frustrated.  Martha is a phony.  People can see through a phony.  She was running around with a smile, but inwardly, was ready to explode.  She’s right on the edge of blowing it.

With that type of person, all it takes is one crisis situation for everything to come out.  This is going to be that crisis situation.  What is in Martha is going to come out and what’s inside Mary is going to come out.  In fact, what is inside Mary has already come out.  And what is inside Martha is about to boil over and explode. 

Mary is head and shoulders above everyone, even the disciples.

Martha is interested in detail.  As a believer, fill your life with something.  If you don’t fill it with the Word of God, you’re going to fill it with some detail of life.  There are believers who do not get into the Word, so they fill their life with something else.

Some may take up some sport and go hog wild.  They get wrapped up in doing something to take the place of the Word of God in their life.  They become frustrated and will make mountains out of molehills. 

Martha – no priority for the Word of God in her life, substitutes her own work instead.  Thinks it better to run around serving food, etc. than to sit at the feet of Jesus. 

Right now she is filled with all those details and wants to complain. 

Verse 40 – “Martha was cumbered about (worried and burdened), came to Jesus (the Greek literally says she broke in on Him) and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Bid her therefore that she help me.” 

So, not only does she interrupt Jesus, she begins to command Jesus.  First thing she does is blame Him.  Don’t you care?  Petty people get upset when you don’t care about their area.  Why don’t you care about my area?  You don’t love me because You’re not concerned with my area. 

Instead of asking her sister to help her, she tries to expose her in front of everyone.  She tries to make her look bad for not doing what she’s doing.  Mary probably looks up at Martha and says, “Well, excuse me!” 

The word “serve” in this passage of Scripture is the word, “diakoneo” where we get the word, diakonos” where we get the word for deacon.  The word for deacon is translated as server.  The reason she is serving a lot is because she doesn’t spend time in the Word.  She tries to cover that up by doing something else.  She is blaming Mary who is doing the right thing when Martha is the one with the problem.

It was a crisis for Martha and it was joy for Mary.  The difference is not that Jesus came, the difference is the attitude in the two sisters. 

One is filled with the Word of God (things that will last) while the other is filled with wood, hay and stubble (things that will not last). 

Verse 41 (Jesus speaks to her lovingly), “Martha, Martha, you are careful (worried) and troubled (literally physically shaken) about many things.  But only one thing is necessary.  Mary picked the right one.”

He isn’t running Martha down.  It’s okay to have food, but if you have a choice tonight He said this isn’t the best dish in the place.  You’ve gone out of your way to fix the food, but you’ve missed the best dish of all and Mary has found that dish.

It says, Mary has chosen the good part. The word for “part” here is dish.  The word for good is “intrinsic good” meaning best part.  He is talking about divine good.  He said you’re producing some good, Martha, but you have missed the best one and that is divine good.  

Jesus goes on to say she has chosen the best dish, which will not be taken from her.

 What cannot be taken away from you?  It is gold, silver and precious stone.  But wood, hay and stubble will be burned away. 

Martha, as much as you are working right now, as much as you are doing for me there will come a day when you stand before Me on judgment day and the fire of God is going to descend upon this and it will all be gone because your attitude is showing through. 

The food would have been fine if she had been right with God.  If she had served the food and then gone back to sit at Jesus’ feet, take in His word, and then excused herself to serve some more food, everything would have been fine.

Something else –  Martha could have been there, listening, but Mary could have been sitting there listening while her mind was a million miles away.  And Jesus would have pointed His finger at Mary.  The attitude is what Jesus was talking about.  The attitude was coming through. 

All Martha was doing that night was wood, hay and stubble.  Mary had chosen the best dish and it will abide forever and no one can take it away. 

Ms. Bridges has chosen the better dish.  And that is why the Holy Ghost has chosen her.  She has chosen the best part, and the Lord sees that. That is why I believe she has been chosen, because  our Lord sees the attitude she radiates behind her service to our lord.

Before I step down, I would like to read one more small passage of scripture that also pertains to attitude. It is 2 Cor. 2:14-17

I will read the Amp. Version



14 But thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph [as trophies of Christ's victory] and through us spreads and makes evident the fragrance of the knowledge of God everywhere,


15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which exhales] unto God, [discernible alike] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing:


16 To the latter it is an aroma [wafted] from death to death [a fatal odor, the smell of doom]; to the former it is an aroma from life to life [a vital fragrance, living and fresh]. And who is qualified (fit and sufficient) for these things? [Who is able for such a ministry? We?] 


17 For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling God's Word [shortchanging and adulterating the divine message]; but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God.



When I first met Ms. Bridges I used to tell her, and everyone else how that I could tell she had been in the room, because she always wears my favorite fragrance for a lady to wear. My wife wears the same perfume.

 After working with Ms. Bridges, I can honestly say that spiritually, she smells even better. When people are around her they may not know what it is, but I do. She wears the sweet savour of Christ. She does not hide who she is. Who is she? You may see her as Ms. Bridges. I see her as a woman of God. She carries the sweet aroma of Christ. That is why she has been chosen for this.

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