I just assumed that everyone would know who Mary and Martha were (from the 31 Days to Clean challenges). Sorry. So let me backtrack and explain who they are and why they are significant in these challenges.
Mary and Martha were women from the Bible. They were sisters (their brother was Lazarus) and dear friends of Jesus. Here’s their story direct from the Bible:
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 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!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38 -42)
Now, you see, Martha was upset because she was busy doing all of the work, while Mary sat and listened to Jesus. So Martha complained about it. Ah but Jesus didn’t tell Mary to get up and go and do some work. No siree. He pointed out that Mary had made the best choice, a choice that can never be taken from her.
I mean, they had JESUS in their home!!! The greatest person in the universe!! Who in their right mind would leave his side! There’s a time and place for busying yourself in the kitchen and home and when Jesus is in your living room, isn’t the time! Ditch the dishes honey!! Ya know what I mean. Hehehe.
So let me give you a little personality rundown:
Martha was a person of action. She gets the practical stuff done. But this particular day in the Bible, Martha got her priorities all topsy turvy. She was worried and distracted by those things that were of secondary importance. Now I didn’t say they weren’t important but at that particular time they weren’t the most important thing. Gosh, if Jesus is in your living room, dial for pizza and get straight back to His side to hang on His every Word!
Mary was (perhaps) more contemplative and reflective. I would say she realised just who she had in her home and dropped everything to be near Him.
Jesus explained that Mary’s choice was the best. Mary chose the only thing that makes an eternal different. Things of the world – the stuff – will pass away one day. A ‘good’ and fruitful life is pointless if we don’t have a relationship with Jesus. Nothing…absolutely nothing else is needed in life and Mary seemed to know this and left the dishes soaking in the sink.
So how does this relate to cleaning? Well Mary and Martha are often used to represent “contemplation” and “action”. The Mary Challenges are about making sure your put first things first – asking God to direct and strengthen you, putting your priorities in order, knowing how your thinking affects your actions….that sort of thing. Your Martha Challenges are your secondary goals – the practical things you can do once you get the important stuff right.
Thank you for asking the question Bernadette. There’s probably lots of people scratching their heads wondering what I was on about. I hope this clears it up.