Mary or Martha?

I have taken some time to review the last 10 years of my life. As we have explored, it has had many ups and downs. My marriage to Erica my sweetheart has been a tremendous growing experience. My faith is strong, I love the Lord, have a sure testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel, I could not deny it any more then the blue sky or the warmth that the sun provides.

But I have come to a realization. I am a "Martha" not a "Mary". Both loved the Lord with all of their hearts, they looked to serve Him and wanted to be taught by Him. But while Martha was running around preparing for the Lord, Mary sat at His feet and wanted to be taught by Him. Martha even took offense to Mary's actions and Jesus rebuked her. He told her that Mary chose the greater part.

My concern is this, I work hard every day for my family, to provide for them, we home school our kids and desire with all of our hearts to teach them the Gospel to give them a sure testimony of its truth. But I feel that perhaps we are missing the "greater part" that we need to take more time to slow down and teach the lessons of the Saviour. The problem is this, it seems that whenever we try to take a time out to do this things fall apart. This is a frustrating scenario, that Erica and I are working to approach with much thought and prayer. But I want to put this out here to my friends to see if anyone has any thought on this, perhaps those with more wisdom or experience can help us along in this process...

I look forward to your feedback.



  1. At the risk of sounding "grown-up"...

    It is my experience that often times members of any faith look at their lives and think that they are not doing all they could. We all get wrapped up at looking at what we could or should be doing and not at what the Lord(or appropriate faith based name) wants us to be doing.

    Are we all Mary's? No. Are we all meant to be Mary's? Perhaps, when the time is right.
    To look at it from the LDS perspective; if each of us, as members, were "Mary's" and spent our time "at the feet of Jesus" then what has been accomplished for the greater good of those people who have not heard the gospel? Where are the "Martha's" to prepare the world to recieve his word?

    This has been a struggle for me ever since first reading my patriarchal blessing. For years, I spent much energy trying to make myself what I wanted to be within the Gospel, and running away from what the Lord wanted me to be. I accomplished little, and now spend many wasted thoughts on "What could I have accomplished had I but done what the Lord commanded of me?" "Has my opportunity passed me by, and thus, have I failed the Lord?"

    Basically, I guess, my advice to you is to first ask in prayer of the Lord if what you are doing is his will before supplicating him to help you be something else.

  2. BJ, I am grown up. Book club just read a wonderful book about Martha and Mary. What an interesting study. I battled, battle the same things. Staying in book club and reading the wonderful books that have come through it is part of my way of being Mary. I know that takes a certain slow down to do. But when it comes to teaching the kids, all I can say is use the imagination, make it FUN! I took a ball of string one time to a class where I was teaching the 12-14 year olds. I asked them a question and threw the person I wanted to answer the ball of string after attaching the end to me. (I think I sat on it) When the question was answered, I told the child to wrap it around them and throw it back. Then I asked another question and tossed it to someone else after wrapping it around my waist. You get the idea. After several questions, we had a real web of string. About this time, President Magleannas poked his head in, and out quickly. I can't imagine what he thought. At the end, you should have seen those kids trying to get out of the web of string. They enjoyed this soooo much. See, just make it fun!!!! To teach about the iron rod, set up a rope around the house and blindfold the kids. Have them follow the rope. To teach about the birth of Jesus, have them make a manger out of popscile sticks and use cotton or hay ontop and you can buy those little babies at the craft department in the cake decorating area. For Easter they have that wonderful egg thing. I have it on the computer, email me if you want it. There are several plastic eggs and in each are different things. A thorn in one, A piece of cloth in another, it all tells the Easter story.
    Hope this helps. I have several ideas if you want them. Good luck Mary

  3. To me, the Martha/Mary question has always come down realistically to two things. Are we proactive in the gospel? Or are we reactive in the gospel?

    Case one: Mary = Proactive. Mary sat at the Savior's feet soaking up all of His teaching that she could. Proactively seeking the gospel teachings and applying them.

    Case two: Martha = Reactive. Martha was righteous. Martha obeyed the commandments. Had the Lord said "Martha come and sit," she would have done it without question. However, she waited to be told.

    There are countless examples in literature, in scripture and in our daily lives. But the question to ask ourselves is are we proactively seeking a relationship with Lord? Or are we waiting to be told what to do? It may not always be the same answer. Some days we may be more proactive in developing our relationship with Savior and proactively seeking the better part. Other days, we may be more like a Martha, simply waiting to be told what to do. Maybe we're tired and have had a bad day. Maybe the extra effort just seems to much. So we're waiting to be told so that we can react.

    I can't answer your question on how to teach your children. I'm the least qualified person on the planet to answer than question. It's a question I myself struggle with. Especially since I know that there are many days when I'm much more of a Martha than a Mary.

    I think the only thing we can do is strive to be proactive. We aren't expected to be perfect. Only to be the very best that we as individuals can be. I take much comfort in knowing that each day I get another opportunity to do my best. To do better than the day before. Somedays we will slip. But thank goodness for the power of repentance.

    I probably didn't help at all. Never mind.

  4. Cali what you said is helpful, at least to me. I find it interesting that everyone can find different applications from the Martha/Mary story and they are all completely valid. When it comes to teaching kids the gospel I think it's like everything else, you use the everyday moments. When they do something or ask a question use those little moments as teaching opportunities just as you do with school. Do that often enough and it becomes second nature to you and to them to relate things to the gospel and better understand its principles. As they get older you can get into deeper discussions like my dad used to have with us. He'd start off with "did you ever think about why..." or how or what, yeah the list goes on. That's what we try to do with our kids anyway.

    We also have a goal as a family to memorize all 13 articles of faith before Emily gets baptised next year. we are on #4 and we ask the kids at various times during the day "what's the second article of faith?" or the first or the third. Even Preston is memorizing them. As we learn them we take them apart and discuss each little point then at random times as we ask the kids to repeat them we also ask what different things mean. They are learning and so are we as we strive to teach them.
    Just keep praying trying and the Lord will guide you in your righteous endeavors.

  5. It is late and I am too tired to think so I know I wouldn't give a good answer to your question. In the meantime read the Article of Faith below and know that when we try our best and our children respond in kind the Lord is pleased with our efforts and is happy to bestow His blessings upon us for those efforts.

    2nd Article of Faith
    by Jonas Guffey Age 5

    "We believe that men will be punished for their own sins and not for Adam's transformers."