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I love my sister. You’d love her too. She is a one-of-a-kind treasure, amazing and unique. But we are very different!


In fact, the first picture we have together is of Little Me looking down at Newborn Her and I’m scowling, as if I’m saying, “What’s this doing here?” We were 20 months apart; and since we are different in many ways, we often fluctuate between knocking heads and sharing our deepest secrets.


What I appreciate about her is that we have a deep understanding of one another that comes from the deep history we've shared. We have been eyewitnesses to each other’s lives. This, however, does not mean we respond the same.


Once when we were kids, my sister impulsively slapped me across the face when I started squealing for joy! Why? Because I won a drawing and she didn’t. I just grinned at her and whispered, “But, we won!”


More recently, my sister was passing through town and asked to meet up. I responded, “Heck yah! Let’s meet at Starbucks!” thinking I’d love to sit, sip tea and chat. But, since my sister doesn’t like to sit still for long, her response was, “I’d rather go shopping.”


We met in the middle (of HomeGoods, that is!). Instead of chatting over chai, we wandered around for a bit, then sat down in some comfy-looking chairs they had for sale and had a lovely visit, while “shopping.”


I wonder if all sister relationships are like this or if it’s just how we roll?


There is a pair of sisters in the Bible that is kind of like my sister and I. Two different women that are closely connected but respond to the world in very different ways.


Meet Mary and Martha! 


They live together with their bro, Lazarus, in Bethany just outside of Jerusalem. This is where Martha met Jesus for the first time. Martha, being gifted with hospitality and with a knack for cooking, invited Jesus and his followers back to her house for dinner. 


“A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen."

Luke 10:38-39 (MSG)


This passage is often used to show that Martha was distracted from her time with Jesus, just like we let our jobs, our worries and our busy lives distract us from spending time with Jesus.


However, I want to explore the idea of how these two sisters, both with different gifts and responses to Jesus, both connected in their service and discipleship to Jesus. Both, while unique in their approach, have a devotion to Christ.


When Martha invites Jesus to her home, she leans into her gifts of hospitality and through that, extends love and honor to Jesus and company. She is being exactly who God made her to be. This brings glory not to her, but to God.


Mary, on the other hand, is drawn to the feet of Jesus. Just like the male disciples, she feels called to learn and worship, hanging on every word Jesus says. It’s a hunger, really, and God gifted her with this hunger so she will know Him and believe in Him. 


There are several times in the Gospels that Mary and Martha are shown to us, and through these encounters, we see how God is giving them opportunities to become part of the Salvation Story.

In John 12:1-3, Martha faithfully responds to Jesus with an open welcome and support of His ministry. Then after dinner, Mary anoints Jesus with expensive oil and wipes His feet with her hair. Mary is one of the first to see that Jesus is the Christ and will soon die. This seems strange to us; but for Mary, it was a sacrificial gift to indicate she recognized Him as the Christ and was honoring Him.


Also, In the great moment that Jesus proves His power over death in raising Lazarus, Martha and Mary come together in their confession that Jesus truly is the Son of God. Through them, a large crowd witnesses this miracle and comes to believe the same.


“Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him…”

John 11:45 (ESV)


What does all this mean to us today?


As for me, I am amazed that these women were actually living in real life with Jesus! They met Him, opened their home and hearts to Him, gave of their gifts, and honored Him with all they had. They were loved by Him (John 11:5), personally and thoroughly, enough that He wept when they were grieving their brother (John 11:33).


I hope you walk away with two new ideas:

  • If you were there like Martha and Mary, you would have responded in your own unique and beautiful way. As you sit here, you have the opportunity to respond NOW in your own beautiful way. Find a way to do that!

  • You, YES YOU, have been given gifts and talents, too! You, too, are invited to be part of the Salvation Story by leaning in and offering your gift to be used to glorify Him and serve others. Find a way to do that!


This is the moment that these ideas either stay here on the page OR they begin to turn into a response to Jesus. Your response may be very unique from others, and that’s even more wonderful! Find out what God has planned for you, Sister!


I hear Martha and Mary are looking for another sister. Are you in?




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I loved this, brought back the memory of our study.

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