Study Guide: Knowing Her Role

Sunday January 11, 2015 | Brianna Millett

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

Through the story of Mary and Martha, Brianna explores some affects of social norms and encourages each of us to embrace our unique role and mission in the kingdom.

Extended Summary:

This weekend, Brianna continued her series about women on the outside, focusing on Mary and Martha from Luke 10. In the story, Martha is frustrated because her sister Mary gets to sit at Jesus’ feet while Martha was busy with doing all the work. Jesus assures her that each is doing her own important job.

Each of us may at times feel this way, like others get to do jobs which seem easier or more fun or more glamorous. This story shows us how when you dig into any person’s role, you will find that each person has their own gifts, strengths and passions, and God uses each of us differently. Every person has their own calling and every calling is important, no matter how mundane it may feel to the one doing it. We should focus on creating our own mission and not compare our job to that of others. Martha’s strengths are different than Mary’s, so they each are exactly where they belong.

Another message that we find in this story is that of breaking social norms. Mary was not doing housework because she was out being a disciple of Jesus. This kind of activity is not at all typical of the first century role of women. Mary is breaking social norms by going out and being a disciple. This is something that Martha feels distracted by and maybe a little resentful/judgmental of. But in fact we should all encourage each other’s unique calling and recognize that it is going to be different for each of us. And moreover, even if our individual calling goes contrary to social norms, we should follow it unabashedly because this is a gift that God has given us. And Jesus shows many times that social norms do not usually reflect kingdom ideals.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Which sister do you see more of yourself in from this story, Mary or Martha?
  2. Is there someone in your life that you get distracted by comparing your role to? What social norms might you be holding them to?
  3. What are some of the mundane tasks that you are responsible for? How can you transform those into a ministry?
  4. What are some ways that you feel like you are already on the outside, breaking social norms? How does that feel?
  5. What are some social norms that might be holding you back from a calling? What would need to happen for you to break free of those?