Come out!

I'm in the midst of reading Danny Silk's new book, Powerful and Free: Confronting the Glass Ceiling for Women in the Church when this catches my eye:
He told Martha that Mary's place was at His feet and not in the kitchen.
I'd read the enounter hundreds of times, but most churches and bible study teachers have relegated His words to be directed at her "busyness" and not "her identity."  In fact there are whole books and bible studies devoted to the subject of Martha's busyness. I don't think this was His intent, to address her kitchen habits. I think He was after something more.

When we study this exchange, Martha gets a bad rap. She's portrayed as a busy body, tattling to Jesus about her sister. But what if she was simply doing what she thought was required of her at that time? Women weren't allowed in the inner courts of the temple and they certainly weren't invited into rabbinical debates. Imagine her shock as Jesus validated Mary, the look on her face as she started to realize what He was telling her. It wasn't a chastisement, it was an invitation.

Come out of that kitchen, woman! 

I love what comes next...."Martha, Martha..." You can just see His gentle expression as He shakes His head back and forth. "You are worried and upset about many things.."   I love that He acknowledges her feelings. "Only one thing is needed..." 

 She might've even dropped a plate, shattered a glass, or broken a container--all in sheer shock! A Rabbi that valued women? That invited them to sit in on His teachings? That would have been scandalous!

I find myself relating more to Martha in this story, not because she was busy, but because she needed the calling out. She needed her worldview challenged. I imagine the trepidation on her face as she gently places down her bowls and sits at His feet. I feel the discomfort as she tries to process what's happening with what she's always known. I think of her fear and disbelief that a man could value her so much. Maybe she was even suspicious at first, I would've been.

We know that her family and Jesus become great friends and that He visits them often. I'd like to imagine that the rest of story goes on to say that Martha begins to believe, not just in Him, but in herself. That she goes on to change the lives of other women, calling out their giftings and introducing them to the Man who gave them.

I want my story to end that way too. I want to believe all that He says I am. Two-thousand years later, I feel His call.

Come out of that box, woman!

I think I will.


  1. I love this! I always felt sorry for Martha, because she was serving in the way she knew. And the last line here-yes!

  2. Love this perspective. I like you have read this story more than once, but haven't seen it through this lens. Thanks for opening me to a newness in this story. I too have always related to Martha and often have been made to feel ashamed of walking in my love of serving others. For me it is balance- I have learned how to also sit at his feet knowing I cannot serve well if I've not first been close to the one that captured me so violently. Much to ponder this!

    1. It's crazy right? You read a story a hundred times and then bam! I saw it as Jesus chastising busyness but he was really challenging her role. It wasn't just in the kitchen. It was with Him!


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