It’s March, already! And we’re back to school- hoorah/boo (delete as appropriate…)! Seriously though, I know for some this will be welcome news, for adults and children alike, and for others this will evoke different feelings. I’ll be praying for all of us as we adjust again.
This month we are looking at the story of Mary and Martha – a well-known story with some points worth hearing!
Please feel free to use as much or as little of the resources below, follow it all or use as a guide 😊
In the story, Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen ‘the right thing’ in sitting and listening to him instead of being so busy with things that aren’t as important. Have a think through the following scenarios (adjust them to suit the age of your child/ren):
- You’re going on a trip to visit some family and you can only fit 2 toys in your bag. What will you choose to pack?
- You’ve been given a packet of sweets and you decide to take them with you when you go to the park. While you’re there you see 2 friends and start playing together. You fancy a sweet and so take them out of your pocket to get one. You have 6 sweets left. Do you choose to share them with your friends?
- You’re back in school and at breaktime you see a friend fall over and scrape their knee. Do you carry on playing or choose to see if they are ok and get a teacher?
- It’s family film night and you’re choosing the movie this week. What are you going to choose?
- You finish a most tasty packet of your favourite crisps. You can either put the empty packet down right where you are or put it in the bin. What do you choose to do?
Have a chat with your child to help explain that sometimes it is really easy or obvious to know what is the right choice to make. Sometimes we know the ‘right thing’ to do, but we don’t always choose to do it. And sometimes, it’s more difficult to decide what is the right thing to do! In the story today, we see that choosing to spend time with Jesus, through bible reading, conversation with or about him, singing worship songs or coming to church, etc. is always the right choice.
Here is the passage from the International Children’s Bible:
Mary and Martha
38 While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. 39 Martha had a sister named Mary. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to him teach. 40 Martha became angry because she had so much work to do. She went in and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me!”
41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are getting worried and upset about too many things. 42 Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the right thing, and it will never be taken away from her.”
As you can see, it’s a pretty short passage and so you might want to read it all straight from the bible, even with younger children. It might need a bit of expanding for some children so be ready to explain and set the scene of a busy woman getting things ready for her guests, etc.
This one is from Crossroads Kid’s Club and is quite detailed and gives a helpful recap:
This is good for younger children from an animated series called ‘Little Bible Heroes’:
This is good for older children:
This one tells the story from a different perspective by putting the characters onto a group of friends:
This one is a very arty sandy one!
Ages 3-7: After reading or watching the story…
Ask if they can remember any of the story or even re-tell it back to you.
- What were the 2 sisters called? (Martha and Mary)
- Why do you think Martha was a bit cross with Mary? (She had left her to do all the jobs)
- What did Mary do instead of helping Martha? (She sat and listened to Jesus)
It’s maybe a good idea to help your child/ren understand that Jesus wasn’t saying we never have to help or do jobs (wouldn’t that be nice… 😬). But that sometimes if we get too busy doing other things, even good things like playing or watching TV, that we can forget to make time to ‘sit with Jesus’, read our bibles, pray, listen, etc. Mary was making sure she took the time to do the right thing, the best thing and the chances are, she did help out afterwards.
Ages 7-11: After reading or watching the story…
Ask if anything stood out or if they have any immediate questions. Could they re-tell the story in 8 sentences?
- What do you think the ‘right thing’ is that Mary chose to do? (Spend time with Jesus)
- Martha was busy getting everything sorted for their meal and was annoyed that Mary left her to do it alone while she went and sat with Jesus and the other men. When she asks Jesus to tell Mary to help, what was Jesus’ answer? (He basically says ‘No, I won’t tell her that, she’s chosen the best thing to do right now.’) Does his answer surprise you at all? Why/ why not?
- Jesus wasn’t saying no housework jobs ever need to be done, or that they’re not important or choosing to help is never the right choice to make. Sorry guys, we still have to tidy our bedrooms 😜 He was trying to help Martha understand that as well as all the good things we can do, help with, or enjoy, above all of those things, the best thing we can choose to do is spend time with Jesus. Whether that’s when we pray and listen or read the bible and talk about him and learn about him. We should always have time for this.
- Is there anything you can do to help you to find time to choose ‘the best thing’?
- It says in the story that Mary was ‘sitting at Jesus’ feet. In the culture of this time, this was how students or pupils would sit with their teachers, being ready to listen and learn and then put their learning into practice. Back in those days, if you were a girl, you would not be allowed or invited to be a student and learn, or hang out with the men. Mary and Martha had ‘women’s work’ as their expected roles, things like all the cooking, cleaning, washing up, all that housework. And so Mary sitting with Jesus and the other men was like breaking the law, which could be why Martha was angry about it. Maybe she was embarrassed by her sister acting like a man, thinking she could learn with them! Why do you think Jesus didn’t mind Mary sitting with him and listening to him? (Because his invitation is open to everyone regardless of sex, race, age, ability, background, etc…)
Have a look through the puzzles, colouring and activity ideas below and choose the right one! 😉Nah, choose whichever you fancy 😊There’s even instructions to make the characters using lolly sticks, now that can’t be a bad choice, surely?
- Word Scramble
- Crossword Puzzle
- Lolly Stick Puppets
- Spot the Difference
- Word Line Up
- Another Word Scramble
Perhaps you could create a daily schedule outlining all the things that there is a time for in the day? Or a storyboard of a daily routine. Make sure to include spending time with Jesus!