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Mary, Martha and Me
by Marlo Wells
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Mary, Martha and Me

6Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. –Proverbs 22:6

Are you a Mary or a Martha? Do you know the difference? Maybe you liken yourself to Ruth or Esther? Perhaps you can relate better to Rahab. You know, there was also the woman at the well that Jesus spoke to about her five husbands and current infidelity. Then again there was the woman caught in the very act of adultery. Dare we forget Sarah, Rachel and Leah? The Proverbs 31 woman also has to be accounted in the mix.

Church ministries, small groups, conferences, books, Bible studies and even online ministries these days are built on the basis of encouraging women by one or more of these women’s lives.
Personality tests passed out in your Wednesday night meeting are set to determine whether you are a Mary or a Martha founded upon your answer to a set of multiple choice questions.

Have you ever taken a multiple choice test and discovered that the answer you have is not one of your options? It’s a bit frustrating to say the least. That is when you are instructed to choose the “best” answer. Well, the “best” answer obviously isn’t there or the question would not have been posed in the first place! Yet for the sake of conformity, someone else decides what the “best” choice options are for you.

“Think outside of the box”, “Don’t put God in a box” are phrases we are all too familiar with.
Yet we live and lead our lives within the confines of the proverbial “box” more than we care to admit. It is a fact that most Christians can quote the Scripture: Be not conformed to this world…But take a look at the Amplified version:

2Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. – Romans 12:2

Let the last part of this passage sink in. “In His sight for you”.

I understand that we should observe the examples of the Godly women throughout the Word. Peter even instructs as much in 1 Peter chapter 3. Frequently however, I hear women referring to themselves by saying, “I am a Mary” or “I am a Martha”.

Emulating Godly qualities in someone else’s life is a wonderful thing. But you had better be sure that they are qualities that God has given you as well and not just what you have decided. Surely it is a blessed thing to be called a Proverbs 31 wife or mother. Those are Godly qualities. But Godly is the key word.

Ultimately our goal should not be to relive someone’s story which has already been lived. Our goal should be to live the story that God has written for each one of our lives. The instructions of that point are driven home in today’s verse in reference to raising children.

6Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. –Proverbs 22:6

How should we raise them? In keeping with their individual gift or bent. Regardless if you have children or not, at some point throughout your life you have possibly been compared to someone else. Problems arise when we place the stipulations on the child that they have to be more like their sibling. You place them inside the confines of a box built to fit someone else.

Have you ever taken a pair of shoes too large and tried to fit them into a smaller box? Try as you may, twist, turn and flip, they just won’t go. Do you know what happens to the box? It becomes misshaped, tattered, torn and possibly destroyed. The end result is it’s ruined.

Many times we entertain ourselves with what we would do in a given scenario. Well if I were her I’d… I would have done… That’s not how I would have handled it… really? It’s difficult enough to figure out who you are supposed to be without trying to live somebody else’s life.

Do I have admiration, awe and wonder at the women in the Bible? Of course I do. Am I inspired by their stories and their walks? You bet! Can I relate to some of the ways of their lives? Sometimes more than I care to admit. But I don’t want to be any of them.

I am who I am. I have my own life to live, my own mistakes to make, my own story to be told. There is plenty to do right there. If you really don’t want to put God into a box, accept that if He is capable of creating a unique DNA code for each individual being, He is capable of a unique story for each as well. When it’s all said and done, you won’t be saying, “I am a Mary”, “I am a Martha” you’ll be saying, “Mary, Martha and Me”.

Read more articles by Marlo Wells or search for other articles by topic below.

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