Category Archives: Mary & Martha

Solomon — 1 Kings 3:16-28

Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she was with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house. “But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep beside her. And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son at all.” Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.” “No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king. Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king. Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!” Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who loved him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child—please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!” Then the king said, “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!” When all Israel heard the king’s decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering justice.
1 Kings 3:16-28

Dear God, “”discernment” and “understanding.” Those were the words that described what Solomon asked you for from you. To be able to assess a situation and see beyond the surface. To be able to play the tape to the end and see all of the dominoes one decision or action will knock over.

In this case, Solomon had two people, both of whom whose character we would tend to question because they were prostitutes and it was a she said/she said situation. So how as he to look beyond the words he was hearing and into their hearts? How was he to discern and understand what the truth was from the lie that one of them was telling? Well, he obviously found an ingenious way to reveal what was in their respective hearts.

As someone who has interviewed a lot of people for positions over the years, getting beyond their words (and the words of their references) and a look inside their hearts is very difficult. It’s a nut I’m still trying to crack. And then there are the disputes between patients and our staff and even among the staff themselves that I am sometimes asked to referee. I must confess, I hardly ever seek your wisdom during these times as much as I should.

Father, please give me good discernment and understanding. That includes how I see family members, friends, our community, our nation, and our world. Help me to routinely ask you and the Holy Spirit for help and counsel. Help me to hear your still, small voice at any given moment.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on July 13, 2019 in 1 Kings, Mary & Martha, Solomon


Mary & Martha — Luke 10:38

Luke 10:38 [NLT]
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home.

Dear God, it’s time to give Martha some props. I might be reading too much into this story, but it appears to me that they didn’t know Jesus before this visit. It looks like Jesus came to town and Martha was the one who invited him over. What I’d like to say in support of Martha is that sometimes it takes the “doer” to get the job done. Yes, the “doer” can get distracted in the midst of beauty, but the “appreciator” often won’t be in the midst of the beauty unless the “doer” helps make it possible.

My wife and I were talking about how we are like these two, with me being like Martha and her being Mary. An example of this is how we approach something as simple as a bike ride. We will both take the same 30-mile bike ride (separately because of how differently we ride), but we will approach it differently. She cruises and looks around, enjoying the country roads and beauty. The wild flowers. The pecan orchard. The new house that was just built in that pasture. I don’t see any of that. But I can tell you how long the ride took me. I can tell you the distance, the elevation gain, my average speed, and my max speed. I know every part that requires extra effort and where I can rest a little while going downhill. One could read the story of our bike riding and say that I need to learn from her (and I do), but without me there would be no ride for her because I am the one who makes sure her bike is ready to go for each ride, including making sure her brakes aren’t rubbing and airing up her tires each time.

Father, it is obviously true that I have a lot to learn from the Mary’s of the world and that you have given me a perfect example to use in my wife. But it’s also true that there are the Martha parts of me that bring something to the table as well, and I shouldn’t forget that. Please help me continue on this journey so that I can die to my strengths by sacrificing them to you and embracing the lessons you have to teach me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,



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Mary & Martha — John 11:28-29

John 11:28-29 [NLT]
Then she returned to Mary. She called Mary aside from the mourners and told her, “The Teacher is here and wants to see you.” So Mary immediately went to him.

Dear God, I’m reading A LOT into this story, and I might be way off base on some of it, but I’m trying to get a feel for why Martha went to see Jesus without Mary the first time. Martha was doing a lot of walking here, going back and forth. And why did Jesus stay where he was instead of going with Martha to the house? Was he trying to avoid all of the mourners as long as he could?

I have never had to face a significant loss like Martha and Mary did here. The closest I’ve come is a mother-in-law nine years ago and my grandparents in my 20s. I would imagine, however, that my response would be much like Martha’s. I would want to keep in motion. I would want to take charge and do the work that needs done. I’m not sure how I would process the mourning part of the experience.

Father, Mary has always been the one held up to us as an example and Martha the cautionary tale. I do think Martha has her good points, however. I just think she needed to be a little more well-rounded. Of course, Mary did too. But Mary allowed herself to grieve. She allowed herself to sit at Jesus’ feet. She allowed herself to give the perfume. Help me to reach that level of sensitivity, generosity, and peace.

In Jesus’s name I pray,


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Posted by on April 10, 2019 in John, Mary & Martha


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Mary & Martha — John 11:21-23, 29-35

John 11:21-23,29-35 [NLT]
Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus told her, “Your brother will rise again.” So Mary immediately went to him. Jesus had stayed outside the village, at the place where Martha met him. When the people who were at the house consoling Mary saw her leave so hastily, they assumed she was going to Lazarus’s grave to weep. So they followed her there. When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept.

Dear God, it is interesting that John records both Martha and Mary as having said the same thing to Jesus when they first saw him: “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” I would imagine they had been saying that to each other for the last four days. Were they angry with Jesus? Were they disappointed?

Martha adds something to hers. She adds a little expectation: “But even now I know God will give you whatever you ask.” (Hint, hint) And Jesus seems to take the bait and tells her that her brother will rise again.

But his response to Mary is different. Martha was seemingly a little bit more reserved emotionally than Mary. The way this story is told, her words to Jesus were from a place of sorrow, but she was also likely a little more stoic. Mary, on the other hand, was weeping. I imagine her sentence being said to Jesus between sobs. In fact, these are the only words Mary speaks in the whole story. And the people seem to be with Mary, comforting her, instead of with Martha. John’s telling doesn’t really mention anyone following Martha around, but Mary probably came across as being more in need. Certainly, watching Mary’s response evoked a surprising response in Jesus—weeping and anger.

Father, I’m not sure if there are too many applications in this story in my life except to appreciate how different we all are. Martha and Mary were very different people and had different needs. They also evoked different responses out of the people around them. And you loved them both. Thank you for loving me as well, even though I am sometimes a terrible mess. Your patience with me is extraordinary, and I am grateful for all that you do for me.

In Jesus’ name I pray,


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Posted by on April 9, 2019 in John, Mary & Martha


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Mary & Martha — John 11:1-3,20

John 11:1-3,20 [NLT]
A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. But Mary stayed in the house.

Dear God, I want to do a little series on Martha and Mary. I’ve thought about them before as people who were described in a given situation, but I’ve never tried to get to know them a little better through the stories we get about them in scripture. In this case, Luke and John are the ones who tell us about them and only John tells us about Lazarus’s death and resurrection. I wonder why.

So in this story, Mary and Martha, right up front, have different responses to the loss of their brother. Mary stays home to just melt and mourn through her grief while Martha is motivated into action. I suppose she has to do something. That’s kind of her personality anyway. She has to be in motion. So they seemingly both get word that Jesus is coming and Martha doesn’t even wait. She goes immediately to meet Jesus on the way. Mary doesn’t. We don’t know why except that this tells us something about their personalities. It helps us get to know them as people. I think one thing I’m taking from this is that Mary is much more emotional than Martha. That has its strengths and its weaknesses.

As for me, in a day when there were no cars and I would have to wait on a walking Jesus to get to me, I probably would have walked out to him as well. I don’t sit still very well. I’m identifying much more with Martha as a personality type than I am Mary.

Father, I don’t think the lesson here is that either one is better than the other. But each woman had strengths and weaknesses. They were just different. Help me to look into my own life and identify the weaknesses you want me to address. Help me to find the things in Martha that are like me that I should embrace and help me see what Mary has that I should try to adopt. And help me, Father, to be your child in every situation. Forgive me of my sins. I’m really sorry for letting you down and for allowing my heart to turn selfish. Guide me into completeness in you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,


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Posted by on April 8, 2019 in John, Mary & Martha