The full title of the book is Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World: Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life. This book was all about meshing the two sisters together (Mary and Martha), the two ends of the spectrum, and remaking yourself into the woman that God wants you to be, one who passionately strives to attain intimacy with the Lord.
Joanna Weaver starts out by recounting the well-known story of Mary and Martha. She describes Martha as being flustered and working hard because she wants to do her very best for Jesus. However, as she is doing all of this work, she discovers that her sister not only isn't doing anything, but is sitting at the feet of Jesus in a room with all of the men. Becoming incensed with her sister, she decides to bring this injustice to the Master's attention. She is astounded when he says that Mary has done the right thing.
Mrs. Weaver goes on to say that this is how most of us feel. We, like Martha, want the Lord to take notice of all that we do for him, when all He really wants is our undivided attention. He wants us to desire to hear Him speak more than anything else.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't also work to honor the Lord, but we need to learn to say no. Anything that gets in the way of time with the Lord should be eliminated, even if it is a good thing in and of itself.
I learned more about both Martha and Mary in this study. Though we can only speculate what their thoughts and intentions were, I think I have a better grasp on each of their situations. Martha wanted to please the Lord with her service. She wanted everything to be perfect for Him. So, instead of trying to listen to the Lord, she tried to impress Him. Even today we have the same struggle. We want to do and impress and put up a good front, when we should really be focused on our relationship with the Jesus.
Mary desired to be with the Lord. She was pulled in by His presence and she understood that there was nothing better that she could do than sitting and listening at His feet.
As I started this study, I called Martha a doer and Mary a thinker. Martha was focused on works and Mary on the heart. Though Mary was right, Martha was not completely wrong, she just had her priorities skewed. The Lord loves it when we work for His glory, but not if that gets in the way of our relationship with Him.
I see myself as being more like Martha. I'm the classic perfectionist and I want to do things to please God, others, and even myself. I could look completely put together and no one would know that my walk with Christ was lacking, because from the outside, it looked perfect.
But trying to do everything perfectly without listening to the Lord has a lot of consequences. You pour yourself out in work for His glory, causing unnecessary stress and tension and then you have no way to fill yourself back up again. This is where I often find myself. If you build a tower without a foundation, it's going to fall down.
All throughout this book, I found things that spoke to me. Chapter three deals with worry, which I feel is prevalent in most people's lives (including mine). Though we all do it, worrying is something God commands us not to do, many times!
An interesting idea was brought up in chapter four. A man was carrying a sled filled with stones to the top of a mountain. The stones had been given to him by God, and he was excited to honor Him by completing his mission. As he went, he was stopped by others who needed stones taken to the top of the mountain. He was happy to oblige and went on his way, adding their stones to his sled. But as more people added stones, the load got heavier. The man became dissatisfied and angry at God. He was angry because the weight was getting to be too much to bear and he couldn't pull the sled any longer. Then, the Lord reminded the man that it was not his fault. God had not given the man all of the stones, the rest he had taken of his own accord.
This illustrates that sometimes, work is not given to us from God. Even though it may be helpful to others or a good thing to do, it won't honor God unless we have a cheerful heart as we accomplish the work we have been given. It's okay to say no sometimes.
Chapter six made the point that we can serve "on our way". We can serve the Lord just by doing things to honor Him as we do the tasks of life. We musn't just work for God in our allotted time, we can serve him whenever He calls us to, even as we go along in our day. But we need to be open to Him showing us what He wants us to do, when He wants us to do it.
I think that from this study I can better set my priorities. I can learn to say no in the interest of saying yes to time with God. I don't need to work to impress God, I just have to grow in my relationship with Him. He is more important than anything or anyone.
I can grow a passionate relationship with Him without neglecting to serve. The key is being joyful in my service. I must serve to bring glory to the Lord, and not for any other reason.
This study has been possibly the best one that I have ever done. Every truth spoke to me and it applied very well to where I'm at in life. Sometimes I read a study and it leaves no impact on me, but I think that if I am diligent in applying the truths that I learned, this book may help me to make a change in my life for good.
I would absolutely reccomend this book to anyone. It perfectly addresses the plight of any overacheiver for God and gives counsel without condemning the reader. It is worth reading and it can change you if you let it.