Sermon notes: Lessons from Mary and Martha


Edwin Bliss once said, “The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.”

Interestingly Jesus taught the same principle as far as 2ooo years ago when he visited Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 the basis for this sermon. These sisters have three important lessons for us.

1. Martha was driven by perfectionism

A. Jesus’ visit was very important because he was only few weeks away from his death. But Martha was distracted by the many things she had to do.

B. Like Martha many of us miss such “Divine Moments” in life because we are distracted  and trying to do everything perfect to receive people’s approval.

C. At the end like Martha not only we will fail but doubt God’s affection for us. This will take the toll on our faith in God.

2. Mary’s life was driven by excellence

A. Someone said perfectionism is doing things right while excellence is doing the right thing.

B. Women in the Biblical times were more interested in their household work. Learning at the feet of a Rabbi wasn’t their cup of tea.

C. Mary pushed back her household work to sit at the feet of Jesus because it was the right thing to do. She was driven by excellence.

3. Lessons Mary and Martha has for us

A. A desire for perfection in less important things is a weakness of personality, not a strength as some would like to call it.

B. Our careers and ministries require attention but not so much we neglect to spend time with God.

C. In life the most excellent thing we can do is to push back unimportant things to make room for God’s presence because without God life is nothing.


Let me close this message with an illustration. Once Marissa Mayer (CEO, Yahoo Inc.) was asked being a mother, housewife and a business woman how does she manage it all. Marissa answered, “I prioritize ruthlessly and God is my top priority”.

Similar Content: