Mary and Martha-Part Three
Spiritual Segregation


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:


Before we discuss the topic of Spiritual Segregation, we should discuss Jesus’ rebuke to Martha.

Luke 10:40-42

    But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." [41] But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;  but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”


There are those who have misunderstood why Jesus brought correction to Martha. They assume He was against her working in the kitchen. So they then insinuate that those who are like Mary are more spiritual. It was not ‘unspiritual’ for Martha to be preparing a meal.

John 12:2 (NASB) 

    “So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.”

When you read all of John, Chapter 12, you do not find Jesus rebuking Martha for serving. (The events recorded in Luke 10 are not the same events in John 12).


The problem was her being irritated with Mary, and not recognizing the unique opportunity to worship Jesus. She allowed her responsibilities to become more important than being blessed with the presence of Jesus.



Spiritual segregation occurs when Marys think Marthas are not spiritual enough, and Martha’s think Marys are ‘too wrapped up in worship and prayer’. What happens with spiritual segregation is that churches either become spiritually passionate or socially compassionate. In order to experience a powerful and long lasting visitation of the Holy Spirit, we must worship Jesus’ divinity and host His humanity.


“There is no reason why a church cannot be seeker-friendly and Spirit-friendly simultaneously. There is no reason why compassion for man and passion for God cannot coexist.” P.22


Mary set the example of loving worship when she broke her costly perfume and anointed Jesus. Martha also showed her brokenness by burning the “midnight oil” and staying up all night before the Passover to prepare the last supper for Jesus.



“Spiritual segregation has no place in God’s purposes or in the life of any local church. Mary and Martha must not only live in the same neighborhood, they must live in the same house! No spiritual segregation, no prideful prejudice.” P. 25.


“Our Father is looking for a house or tabernacle to live in, not simply to visit.” P.25. A place that recognizes His Divinity, but and also ministers to humanity.


In the next nugget we will discuss the Mary and Martha in each of us.


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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