6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The account of Martha and Mary. All of us must show that in our life all of us must be both--"Martha" who serves, and "Mary" who sits at the feet of Jesus.


Martha the Doer and Mary the Devoted One


Jerry Falwell

I. INTRODUCTION (Luke 10:38-42)

A. Many have read the account of Martha and Mary who fussed over their role and relationship to Jesus. Practical people tend to take Martha’s side; contemplative people tend to take Mary’s side. Today, I want to point out the good points in both women. All of us must show that in our life all of us must be both - We must be “Martha” who serves. We must be “Mary” who sits at the feet of Jesus.

B. Martha The Doer

1. Martha prepared her house for Jesus. The Bible says, “Martha received him to her house” (v. 38). This means she had the gift of hospitality and was gracious. The greatest thing about Martha was that she was unselfish.

There are many people like Martha who get the church building ready, you see the tangible side of life.

2. Martha did what had to be done. The Bible says, “Martha was cumbered about much serving”

v. 40). When you have guests in your house, you have many jobs to do. Since Martha invited Jesus to her house, she had to prepare food, set the table, and look after many details.

There are many people in this church that get the building and programs ready for others to come learn and worship God.

3. Martha had good intentions. From the very beginning, Martha had the right intentions about Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to Bethany he needed some place to stay. Martha was well-intentioned. She used her home for Jesus. She used her gifts for Jesus.

4. Martha was useful but did things that pass away. The Bible says that Martha came to Jesus and said, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she should help me” (v. 40). Martha understood that things had to be done. She tried to get Jesus to ask Mary to help her. When Jesus left the house, who would remember how good the meal, how beautiful the table, or how clean the floors? She did useful things, but things that pass away. Jesus told Martha, “Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her” v. 42).

5. What Martha did was not inferior, it just interfered with her relationship to Christ. Martha did good things that needed to be done; but Martha was wrong in two ways. First, she complained about her sister, “Lord dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone” (v. 40). Second, she didn’t choose the best.

To choose the less, When you could choose the best;

Constitutes the greatest tragedy of life.

6. Martha took care of the “needs” and “wants” of people, she did not take care of Jesus Christ. “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things” (v. 41).


All of us must live the life of Martha. There are many things that we “must needs” do. We must work for a living to earn money, we must clean our houses and take care of details. We must look after the “needs” of our family and those for whom we work. There is nothing wrong with being a “Martha,” but never be just a “Martha.” There are two sides to life. We also must be a “Mary.” We must sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from Him. The first is important, the second is imperative.

C. Mary The Devoted One

1. Mary wanted to learn from the words of Jesus. The Bible says, “Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his Word” (v. 39). It is important to come to church and hear the Word of God. It is important to be in Sunday School and hear the Word of God. It is important to give attention to the Word of the Lord.

Are you a “Mary” that loves the Word of God or are you a “Martha” that is irritated about the things that don’t get done in the church? While both are necessary, neither should complain about the other.

2. Mary rested in Jesus Christ. We do not see her working hard or running around the kitchen The Bible says, “That she sat at Jesus’ feet” (v. 39). Every time you see Mary in the Bible, she is at the feet of Jesus. In this story she is learning at the feet of Jesus. In John 12 she is anointing His feet. In John 11 she is crying at His feet. Being at the feet of Jesus is a good place.

3. In contrast to the troubled Martha, (v. 41) we see joy and peace in Mary who is sitting at the feet of Jesus (v. 42).

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