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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Martha and Mary – A poem by Annie Johnson Flint

This post originally went up in October of 2011. Since then it has become one of the most popular posts on my blog. I think you will see why when you read the poem below.

Do you ever feel like there’s just too much to do and that you can’t get it all done?  Do you feel like you don’t have enough time for the things that really count?  I love this poem.  It thrills me at the end, as so many of Miss Flint’s poems do.  She had such a way with words and such an order to her thoughts. Thank God for preserving these for us!  This one really helps us to re-adjust our perspective and consider the things that are truly needful.

Martha and Mary

Martha was busy and hurried,
Serving the friend divine,
Cleansing the cups and platters,
Bringing the bread and wine;
But Martha was careful and anxious
Fretted in thought and in word.

She had no time to be sitting
While she was serving the Lord,
For Martha was "cumbered with serving,
Martha was "troubled" with "things"---
Those that would pass with the using---
She was forgetting her wings.

Mary was quiet and peaceful,
Learning to love and to live.
Mary was hearing His precepts,
Mary was letting Him give---
Give of the riches eternal,
Treasures of mind and of heart;
Learning the mind of the Master,
Choosing the better part.

Do we ever labor at serving
Till voices grow fretful and shrill,
Forgetting how to be loving,
Forgetting how to be still?
Do we strive for "things" in possession,
And toil for the perishing meat,
Neglecting the one thing needful---
Sitting at Jesus' feet?

Service is good when he asks it,
Labor is right in it's place,
But there is one thing better,
Looking up in his face;
There is so much he can tell us,
Truths that are precious and deep;
This is the place where he wants us,
These are the things we can keep.

Annie Johnson Flint

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

(I took this picture in the corner of my mom’s kitchen, and yes those are real amaryllis.)

I love this picture in contrast with the one of my messy, stress-filled kitchen at the top.  It is so simple. So beautiful. So quiet.  Yet there is strength there as well.  It speaks to me of quiet waiting on the Lord and the slow, strengthening growth and beautifying that comes with that.  May God help us to seek out the quiet corners of our lives where we can focus on the precious, lasting things.


  1. Thank you - that was helpful

    1. Thanks for commenting. I'm glad it was helpful to you. :-)

    2. Amen, to this reminder!

    3. I'm glad you liked it too. I love this poem.