Sunday, August 10, 2008

In Defense of Martha

This beautiful painting by Walter Rane shows Mary listening intently to Jesus Christ (choosing the good part, as Jesus later told Martha) as Martha works in the background (see Luke 10:38-42). Today in Relief Society our teacher asked us for some insights on this story. Many comments included things like "making sure we choose the better part", "focusing on the important things in life," "not getting caught up in the busyness of life so that we improve our spirituality", etc. It seems that whenever we talk about Mary and Martha, Mary is the righteous one and Martha is accused of choosing a "less good part."

In defense of Martha (to whom I relate much more than I do to Mary), I'd like to propose that Martha was showing her love for the Savior and expressing her faith in Him by doing the things that she chose to do. She was likely preparing food and cleaning up and making sure that her guest was taken care of. Her work and efforts made it possible for Mary to sit in the company of the Savior and learn from him.

I loved what was said in General Conference last April about needing different kinds of people in the Church:

"The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole."--Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2008

I'm not bagging on Mary in any way, I know she was a great lady too. Nor am I dismissing in any way that which is "needful"--studying the gospel, learning from the Savior, and being spiritually filled--but can't we all give Martha a break and appreciate her for the service she rendered and the way she expressed her love for the Savior?

Hooray for Martha!

7 comments:

Kristy said...

I agree with you about Martha and about celebrating our differences! I have also heard Martha praised for her service to Christ. I really love that quote from your grandpa....right?

LAURA & ELIZA said...

Lisa, I very much appreciated your view on this subject. I agree with you 100%! I think as members of the church we are all expected to be one way and if we're not the way we're expected to be people are either disappointed or judgemental. I enjoy being different personally, and I hope that I can raise my children to accept their differences and to be proud of them. Good post Lisa!

Janene said...

this makes me miss R.S. :o) Thanks for sharing your insights!

Heather said...

I love you girl. It continues to amaze me just how similar you and I are. (Sigh.oh la la Sting.) I guess I could be called living proof of needing different kinds of members in the church. I don't exactly fit in most of the time. I miss ya. Let's get together soon. I totally love Martha because I wouldn't be able to concentrate if there were still a dinner mess about.

The Hale Family said...

I agree.. I'm with Martha too. I can't relax if there are dishes to do. I'm sure she was a very good woman. why else would the savior be there with her that day.

Cheristy said...

I love Walter Rane. He is one of my favorite artists. (Besides Justin of course). Great comments.

Victoria said...

I'm reading a book called "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" While I have always tended toward the Martha side. The book doesn't negate Martha's personality but instead encourages the reader to put the "Mary" worship before our "Martha" service so that we will be better invigorated for the task at hand. It's a suprisingly challenging (but good) read.