Mary and Martha

I know of a sweet Mom who has two grown sons who are so different that she sometimes wishes she could turn them into one person.  What would a combined serious Prince William-like son and a more carefree Prince Harry-like son look like?  Maybe Queen Elizabeth has wondered that too.  HA!

There are stories of siblings in the Bible who were opposites too.  One being the sisters Mary and Martha of Bethany.

In Luke 10: 38-42, we find Jesus visiting the home of Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus.  With Jesus as a guest, along with his disciples, Martha was busy as a bee preparing for her guests.  She was fulfilling the traditional role of a woman taking care of the meal and serving as hostess.  With perhaps a house full, she needed help and her sister wasn’t paying her any mind.

Instead, Mary was sitting at the feet of the guest of honor, Jesus.  She was sitting amidst the men folk listening to Jesus.  She was not playing the typical female role.  Tradition dictated her place was alongside her sister but instead she took her place at Jesus’s feet.

Martha complained to Jesus in hopes He would admonish Mary to help her.  Jesus’s response was not what Martha was expecting.  Instead, Jesus told Martha to let Mary be. Not only that, He said Mary had made the finer choice.   She had chosen to follow her heart.

I have no doubt that Jesus loved both sisters.  My thought is He appreciated Martha serving Him and the other guests, but recognized Mary for her choice to sit at His feet and listen to Him.  Perhaps Jesus was saying to Martha that there would always be a meal to prepare and a home to clean, but they would not always have Him with them.  When Jesus did go back to the Father and Mary didn’t have His presence, she had His words hidden in her heart that no one could take from her.

In the book of John, another visit by Jesus of the sisters is also told.  A sadder occasion because of Lazarus’s death.  It was Martha who ran out to see Jesus while Mary initially stayed back.  Jesus told Martha her brother would rise again.  Martha said she believe in the resturrection at the last day, but Jesus admonished her He was the resurrection and the life.  It was in His power to raise him at that moment.  Jesus asked Martha if she believed and her response was a fine a statement of faith as I ever read one:

John 11:27: She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

There’s no doubt that both sisters loved Jesus too.  They showed their love in different ways.  Martha through serving and Mary through listening.  The sisters were different but followed the same Lord.

A challenge for those living on the autism spectrum is accepting our differences from those around us who aren’t on the spectrum.  We can’t run from our disorder; it will always chase us down.  I think it best to accept it; with the Lord’s help, cope with its dark side one day at a time; and be thankful and rejoice in its bright side such as a passion of our own to thrive in and share with others.

I relate to both sisters.  Martha and her adherence to rules and routine which are almost as essential to me as air and water.   But also Mary who followed her heart and dared to be different.

God could have made us all the same, but He didn’t.  I have to believe God always knows best and it was best for us to be different.  It’s best, I reckon, to stick to the Lord’s blueprint rather than to try to be someone we are not.  So what if you stick out like a sore thumb to your peers when following the Lord’s lead?  As Jesus said to Martha, “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”






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