Mary and Martha-Part Two
The Differences


Quotes are from “Chasing God, Serving Man-Divine Encounters Between Martha’s Kitchen and Mary’s Worship” by Tommy Tenney. You can order the book on-line at:


In this nugget we are going to share what the differences are between the Marys and Marthas in the church. We want to make it clear that these are positive differences. The Body of Christ needs both perspectives to reflect the character of Jesus.


“Martha majors on the practical and minors on the spiritual. Mary seems to focus almost exclusively on the spiritual realm while downplaying or nearly overlooking the practical details of life and Christian service.” P. 28.


“Mary is a visionary, and Martha is a planner and implementer. Mary is the eternal idealist, and Martha is the earthly realist. Faced with a challenge, Mary would probably say, ‘Whatever it takes,’ while Mary would say, ‘What would it take?’” P. 33


“Mary leaned toward the place of adoration and faith; Martha had a natural preference for the place of service or works of faith.  Martha would instinctively labor to clothe the naked, but we suspect that Mary might have been tempted to just pray for the naked.” P 38


Luke 10:38-39

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet.”

The only reason Mary had the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus in the living room was because Martha invited Jesus into the house and labored in the kitchen to prepare Him a meal. Martha’s ministry of hospitality to the Lord literally created the platform for Mary’s ministry of worship! P. 44


“Whenever Jesus came to Bethany and entered the house of Mary and Martha, they didn’t know whether it was time to feed His humanity or worship His divinity. Sometimes He just wanted “biscuits and gravy”; at other times He was to be received as Divinity. Sometimes Martha met the Son of Man’s most urgent need by providing home-cooked food, comfortable accommodations, and an orderly and peaceful home environment for His humanity. At other times the Son of God most longed for the ministry of Mary, who had a gift for entertaining His divinity.” P. 29.


Marthas, by nature, tend to be more “take charge” and more aggressive in social situations and relationships. Zealously serving Marthas can easily step on quietly worshiping Marys.


Mary’s vertical ministry goes straight to the heart of God and Martha’s ministry goes straight from the heart of God to the heart of man. P. 81.


“You can take Martha out of the soup kitchens on skid row, but you will never take away her love and longing to serve others. It is part of her ‘spiritual DNA.’

If you coax Mary into the kitchen and try to make her into a Martha it won’t be long before she is staring out the window toward her favorite place of prayer.” P 43



In the next nugget we will discuss “Spiritual Segregation”.


Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NAS).

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