The Martha In Me

“At Jesus Feet” by Nathan Greene

“She (Martha) had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” Luke 10:39,40a

Too often Martha takes charge–
I schedule service with conditions,
workboots clomp on everything
threatening my control –
I curse the one who’s late,
ignore the longing in my daughter’s eyes to chat,
dismiss women with Watchtower at my door –
not aware I’ve stamped out
embers of His presence.
Frenzied spirit, already irritated with talk-show whining
pours caustic retort on husband,
‘No!’ when son asks bread,

–while Mary sits confined to a corner of my heart
shaking her head in sadness and disbelief:
Girl, when will you learn
to serve Him you must first
let Him serve you.
You will not hear His zephyr voice
above the drumbeat of agenda,
motion’s clatter or ambition’s roar.
Open yourself to interruption, serendipity,
stillness. Be flexible, available
to sit down or jump up
at His impractical bidding.

© 2004 by Violet Nesdoly


First published in my Calendar (2004).

3 thoughts on “The Martha In Me”

  1. Ah, lovely ending “impractical bidding.” Yet I’m so much beating myself up about not measuring up and this poem also sounds that way. I picture his voice was so gentle, so appealing, to Martha. She must have dropped everything at that moment and sat down too.


  2. Thanks Joyce. And I think you’re right. In fact, I believe I’ve seen an artist’s rendition of the story where Mary and Martha are both sitting at Jesus’ feet.


  3. I can relate, and I agree with Joyce–the last line is perfect. “Impractical bidding” is what Jesus’ words may seem to our agenda-driven minds, but then it turns out to be the best way.


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