Eight Sunday after Trinity 21.7.13 Luke 10. 38-end

14 07 2013

Leading Your Church into Sloth

Two sisters have different values, but the one who does less is praised more.

Luke 10: 38-end

Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’


To help give shape to the reflection here are three types of question: head questions, heart questions and hand questions. They are about our intellectual response, our emotional response and our practical or behavioural response. I hope that you will want to work at all three levels.

Head Questions

  1. Is there anything wrong with what Martha was doing?
  2. What is the ‘one thing’ of verse 42?
  3. What is difficult about what Mary is doing?

Heart Questions

  1. Is your heart with Mary or Martha?
  2. Do the values of your local church support Mary-like or Martha-like behaviour?
  3. Which do the practices support?

Hand Questions

  1. What’s on Martha’s ‘to-do list’?
  2. Now do a list for yourself but with two columns, ‘must-do’ and ‘may-do’. What have you learnt?
  3. Does it make sense to think of leading your church into sloth?


These questions are intended to challenge you to engage more closely with the passage and to hear and feel what it has to say to you.  That’s more than a five-minute task. And so is the follow-up, working out what you might want to say to others as a result of engaging with the passage with head, heart and hands.  Take your time.



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