Martha Work and Mary Work

Martha work and Mary work—the phrase sometimes comes up during church membership meetings when the activities of the church are reviewed along with the personnel and budgetary needs of the various committees. Martha work, one might say, keeps the church solvent, clean, and visibly active. It pays the bills, cleans the carpets, paints the walls, balances the books, fills the literature distribution boxes.

Mary work might be said to serve more directly the spiritual needs of the community, including the church membership; it listens to the Christ.

A concern sometimes expressed by church members is that perhaps too much attention is being given to Martha work, and not enough to Mary work. What is the right relationship between the two?

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October 24, 1977

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