Martha or Mary, and the Church of Ephesus



Love only, and forget the works?


Faith without works is dead. James 2:14-26


Martha and Mary – Martha does all the work, Mary does not help her, Jesus chooses Mary’s actions over Martha’s

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.

39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the LORD’s feet listening to what he said.

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “LORD, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the LORD answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,

42 but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”


To the Church in Ephesus – hard work and perseverance, faithful, tested with hardships, but considered not as loving as they used to be???

Revelation 2

2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands.

2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.

3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.

5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.


Both Martha and Mary loved Jesus, but Mary was preferred, as she made her sister do all the work, and stayed with Jesus.

This seemed unfair to Martha, who, if she could have gotten some help, would then be able to stay with Jesus also.

Martha was seen as less loving.

The Church of Ephesus was like Martha, working hard for the Lord, hating evil and faithfully enduring hardships, but was described as unloving as well.

It seems like they were wasting their time doing anything to serve the Lord.

I can see people becoming out of balance by focusing on works only, but enduring hardships and testing indicates love is really there.

Otherwise, they would just give up and walk away.


Love or Serve?

So should we sit in our ivory towers, let others do all the teaching, preaching, building, witnessing, writing, and leading?

Let others go through persecution, torture, hardships and death.

That way, we can focus on just loving the Lord, and get our reward in heaven?

This baffles me.

Why can’t there be a balance?

How do we know when we are serving the Lord too much and should be loving him more?

How do we know when we are loving the Lord, but not serving Him enough?

The answer for one person may differ from what may be the answer for another person.

For me, I serve the Lord because I do love Him, and His Word and Presence is my main priority, so this answer is not that clear to me.


Pray for me that I find the right balance.

I do not want my lampstand to be taken from me.


8 Responses to “Martha or Mary, and the Church of Ephesus”

  1. […] here for […]

  2. It is important that the church be built: That is the whole purpose of Jesus’ ministry and the purpose of human life existing still when God could rightly have wiped it out in the Flood. So the most important thing is to facilitate this Temple of God taking form. If the Lord is ready to build it in me I should let Him do so above every other priority. Mary saw it that way and let Jesus form her inwardly by words of life into a part of that church. Martha did not fail in this respect in the longer term because she let faith be formed in her too so after Lazarus died she could affirm of Jesus that immortal confession about who He is plus she did not let herself hate Mary, unlike Cain who killed Abel because Abel’s sacrifice was accepted in preference to his own. But listening to the words of life is paramount.

  3. I read this as First Seek the Kingdom of God…His thinking, His ways are not necessarily our ways. Martha had her agenda as first priority (albeit serving is honorable, in order, however she had her priorities confused & THAT caused her anxiety.)

  4. The Priests in the inner court wear linen, they remove wool that causes sweat when they enter the inner court. Dead works from striving in the flesh. The Bride in Revelation wears fine linen that stands for the righteous acts of the saints.

  5. Every person’s walk is different. That is what Jesus told Peter in John 21:21,22. “You follow Me”. Some Christians say that the Jesus Movement of the sixties failed because it did not meet their standards of success, but that is not the case. The Lord led different people in different directions and so it seemed like the Movement failed, but it did not as the Lord led each one of us in different directions to do different things as He wanted and not what we wanted to do for Him. The Bible gives us general guide lines, but as Christians we each have our PERSONAL walk with the Lord to do what He wants us to do for Him and only we know if we are doing what He wants us to do for Him. If we are doing what He wants us to do for Him then we have ceased from our own works and entered into His rest and the Holy Spirit will lead us as God’s sons and daughters to do His specific will as we walk with Him. That is one of the major differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant as Jeremiah prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-34.

  6. I don’t think this scenario can be shown to be a good example of the James admonition because the time Jesus was here on earth was a special time. Jesus was here in the flesh as the Bridegroom and Martha chose not to talk and listen to Him while He was here on earth for a very short time!!

    On the other hand, repenting and drawing closer to God involves effort. The works of faith are acts of worship not necessarily handing out water bottles to people. How can you complete acts of service to the world doing outward deeds but forsake the blood of Jesus and the cross??

  7. Three crowns (Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Vandals) were wiped out by the Romans for not doing what the Romans told them to do. If you read Revelations properly (which most don’t) you will again see this referenced with the seven heads and ten crowns later on in Revelations. Revelations is all about the failings of modern religions and the birth of the Meek but written in a way as not to alert those named as failing by using imagery foreign to those not knowing. Revelations is about the religious practices and not about politics at all. To add, Chapter 11 about the shortcomings of the muslims and the nation of Islam, Chapters 12, 13, 14 and such about the Roman Catholic church and its shortcomings, and Chapter 15 and beyond about the jews and such. In this, you also see the rise of the Meek as foretold who are the ones that preach that good rules apply to the rulemakers themselves as well as others. Then comes Heaven on Earth and world peace and all that. The Meek are actually the Heretics, Infidels, and Gentiles as referred to by the respective Roman Catholics, Muslims, and Jews. Very interesting and telltale book if read properly which honestly, thank Almighty that most don’t see their own fates for making things up and expecting people to have blind faith instead of honesty. And honestly, if the rules to follow are so great then why do the leaders promote murder of those considered by the religions to be unworthy of the religions, yet considered worthy by Almighty Himself. Yes, Revelations is very troubling but true.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: