A lesson learned from Martha of the Bible on coosing that "good part".

Choosing That “Good Part”

In Motherhood, Parenting, Uncategorized by Jen28 Comments

There is a particularly poignant scripture passage in the Bible that I often find myself contemplating. This specific passage involves sisters Mary and Martha who have received the Savior Jesus Christ into their home for dinner.  Martha busily goes about preparing dinner for everyone, but notices that her sister Mary is not helping her to shoulder the work as she feels her sister should and so Martha speaks to Jesus about it.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. [Luke 10:40–42]

How we can learn to choose "that good part".

There are many explanations for the meaning behind what the Savior meant and from many who are much more leaned than I, but I admit to feeling a certain affinity towards Martha in this instance. She was trying so hard to serve and provide for others and quite often I too find myself feeling like Martha did, “cumbered about much serving”.

Some might consider the Savior’s words to Martha to be harsh and that Mary should have helped her sister, but to only look at it that way misses the point I think. Through other scriptural accounts we have seen the great faith Martha had and the Savior lovingly tells Martha that he knows she is “careful and troubled about many things”. Then he teaches her a very important lesson.

He reminds Martha that in this instance Mary was doing exactly what she needed to do for herself in order to choose “that good part”.  She needed to hear his words and for her this was immensely more important than anything else she could have been doing at the time.

It wasn’t that the Savior didn’t understand Martha was working hard or even that he was not grateful for her service, it was just that she had unkindly judged Mary who was doing what she needed in order to help herself grow as an individual and was of much more import than serving dinner.

At times I know that I too have been guilty of Martha-like behavior and sadly, I  know there have been instances in which I have not chosen “that good part” and might have even harshly judged others for where I found them lacking. All because perhaps instead of simplifying and choosing that which is most important I had not properly weighed priorities for myself.

In truth although the dinner that night might have been fantastic, once the food had been eaten the meal would have been forgotten. Whereas the words the Savior shared that night were of eternal import.

Lately I have been feeling weighed down and much “cumbered about”. This has caused me to reflect on and to consider if my priorities are really aligned with those things that are of the most importance to me and in some cases this reflection has helped me to see that some of my “serving” is really not useful at all. In some ways there are times I am just spinning my wheels and not helping to build myself or others up.

I love this quote by Evelyn Marshall, ” What in our own lives have we chosen that is good, lasting, and eternal? Have we separated the trivial from the important? Do we really understand the differences between “nice to know,” “want to know,” and “need to know”? In an age when information virtually explodes around us, are we developing the skills to sort out what we will choose to take into our hearts and minds, and what we will discard? Have we developed an eternal perspective so that “the good part” is clearly visible now?”

My father always used to remind me to pick my mark and to not lose sight of it and sometimes in my flurried activity my perspective is definitely not what it should be.

I cringe when I think about some of my lost moments; moments once past that cannot be reclaimed.

Like sitting and playing with a child, because they grow so fast and then they are gone before we even expect it. Lost opportunities like this are hard to undo.

Or unexpected opportunities to sit and chat with someone whose words just might be an answer to a prayer for them or for me.

All are lost moments I hope to avoid going forward and although Mormons do not celebrate Lent in it’s traditional sense, this Easter season I feel a renewed desire to commit myself to choosing that good part, straightening my priorities and finding myself more free of the cumbersome burdens for which I have saddled myself with in the past.

A lesson learned from Martha of the Bible on coosing that "good part".

If you would like to learn more about what I believe you are welcome to ask me or to visit mormon.org.

Before you go make sure to sign up for my email list and never miss a post!



Go ahead and share this post, you know you want to!


    1. Author

      Isn’t it so easy to do that? Sometimes I wonder why I can fall into that trap so easily and just not focus on what matters most! That is why this story has always meant something to me. Thanks my friend and hoping you get more moments to do just that; sit, relax and focus on the now!
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  1. I love this and I often pick the good parts because I recognize that they are there for the taking. We become much wiser as we age and the unimportant falls away and we focus on what we know is more important.

    Thanks for the smile today.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺
    Comedy Plus recently posted…Comment GameMy Profile

    1. Author

      Don’t you wish our younger selves had just a little more knowledge like our older selves, but then again that is the beauty of life. Our souls and wisdom become truly beautiful things as we grow and mature. So glad you liked this! Hugs to you :)
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  2. I can so relate to you here, Jen. Especially this: “there are times I am just spinning my wheels and not helping to build myself or others up.” I’m such a Martha and it drives me crazy at times. This is such an important post and you did a fantastic job with it, my friend. Thank you for all of these reminders I really needed to hear :)!
    Candace recently posted…Living As IfMy Profile

    1. Author

      Thank you! I am glad this touched you. Isn’t Martha just the best! We see examples of her faith like with her brother Lazarus when he dies and so we know that she is a faith filled woman and then this interchange between her and the Savior is really such an important reminder to all of us.
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  3. That is definitely one of my favorite passages to ponder. I remember once having a conversation with a priest about how I felt I was too much like Martha and not enough like Mary. It’s so easy for mothers to do nothing but help everyone out and then get frustrated when it seems like no one else is doing their part. Sometimes we all need the reminder to take a step back and think of the greater picture. Thanks for helping to remind me of that today!
    Leslie recently posted…Easy DIY Felt Easter Egg Activity for KidsMy Profile

    1. Author

      I am so glad you enjoyed this post! I think you are right. Mothers and the whole act of mothering does make it just that much easier to forget to take those steps back and see the very important larger picture of what we are doing.
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

    1. Author

      You and me both! Blogging and social media can be such time killers for sure! Sometimes I find it best to slowly back away from the computer, get outside and take a fresh look at what my priorities really should be, because it should NOT be making sure to respond to everyone’s tweets!! :)
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  4. Very cool and very relatable. Too many verys there.
    It reminds me more of Cassidy – who will spin his wheels into exhaustion, and then not be very helpful to me or anyone.

    1. Author

      Ah so the builder of Groot and I sound very much alike! P.S. I sent a text yesterday with the word almost in it 4 times. I laughed afterwards, but hey sometimes a word really is worth repeating!
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  5. I love your interpretation of the story. As many times as I’ve read it, I’ve never considered that the Savior wasn’t necessarily saying that Martha was doing the wrong thing by doing all the practical things needed to run a household, he was simply telling her not to judge Mary! I have to go read it again now…

    1. Author

      Thank you! This exchange in the Bible can seem harsh at times, but Martha was being kind of rude to her sister if you think about it. I cringe thinking about moments where I may have done that. Yep, sometimes being busy just isn’t all its cracked up to be :)
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  6. Author

    Thank you! Grace really is such a beautiful thing! Knowing that the Savior’s grace and love is available to me helps me to forgive myself for those cringe worthy moments and to move forward more full of love.
    Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  7. Hi Jen, I think it’s natural for us to feel bogged down and put upon every now and again, which in turn leads to us judging people when we we shouldn’t, but that’s what makes us human.

    I think what we must learn is that what is important to ourselves, may not necessarily be important to others and we are free to make our own choices. Martha felt like she had to prepare a fantastic dinner and chose to do so, whereas Mary obviously didn’t feel the need to do so. But on the other hand, if we all chose only to do the things in life we want to, there would be many things left undone, so there has to be a happy medium… You’ve really got me thinking now!… Maybe that’s where compromise comes in?

    Debbie recently posted…Shiza Cross, KampiMy Profile

    1. Author

      Oh yes compromise the great solution to many of life’s lingering problems. You are right, there really does have to be a happy medium. I think there are many situations that could be completely avoided with a lot less judging and a little more compromise. See now you got me thinking too!
      Jen recently posted…Choosing That “Good Part”My Profile

  8. Oh Jen, what a wonderful and inspiring piece. This is the perfect reminder to look for and enjoy the “good part” of everyday. As you said, that could be playing with our kids or just having a meaningful conversation with a stranger. It’s also such a great lesson on judgment. I think people often forget that every one has battles to fight, and everyone has a different way of coping and conquering it. So it’s best to be supportive and empathetic, rather than judgmental. It’s what’s going to make us stronger as parents and as people. Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful piece with us on #shinebloghop! It’s always so lovely for you to join us.

    1. Author

      Thank you so much Maria! You are so right. We have absolutely no idea what kinds of battles each person is facing in their lives. Can you imagine a world full of people willing to give love first rather than to harshly judge? Wow! I am still holding out hope, because that is a world I want to live in!

      Thank you as always, for sharing your wise and sweet thoughts.
      Jen recently posted…How To Make Fabulous Printables People Will LoveMy Profile

  9. I’m so glad you linked this up today. When I saw it in the list, I thought some new faith blogger had joined my hop, and then I saw it going to JenerallyInformed, and I was like Oh! Hey! It’s Jen!! And I was excited to read it. You posted this during my medical crisis last year when I was barely reading anything, so I had missed this. How neat that you picked it for today!! I love it.
    April recently posted…Week 3 of The Hot Mess Blog HopMy Profile

Leave a Comment