Updated: Mar 5, 2020
A woman’s place is in the kitchen; she had always been told. Cleaning, cooking and preparing a house was holy. And as she watched her sister skillfully perform those duties, she wondered, but where do I fit in?
Her sister allowed for the hospitality of their culture to be realized. Her skill in the kitchen created a great banquet to host this new teacher. But as she watched her sister work, she felt called to go to the teacher. Aware of the culture’s expectation of her as a woman, she left her sister to sit at this new teacher’s feet.
There she heard him explain the scriptures, he to open her eyes to the truth about God's kingdom and she began to dream what it would be like to be his disciple.
But her dream was threatened when her sister – the perfect woman – interrupted and demanded the teacher tell her to get back to work.
How was it that she was in the wrong body? She wanted to serve her God, but she couldn’t imagine doing it in the kitchen. She didn’t look down on her sister or the other women who faithfully, served God through their domestic duties; rather she envied their uncomplicated relationship with God and culture. But she couldn’t ignore that her heart sought a different type of service. She wondered if there was a place for her to serve God. The new teacher – Jesus - saw all of these questions in her eyes, and he said, “Martha, Martha you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” These words fell on her ears like a healing salve. She was made to serve the LORD, and her LORD just affirmed that she could serve him as a disciple. The culture said she was in the wrong place, but her LORD told her that she indeed was in the right place.
Mary’s courageous act of defying culture and choosing to sit at Jesus’ feet and be a disciple has led the way for women like Priscilla, Lydia, and Junia who were disciples of Christ and led the early church. Back then, women were second-class citizens, and yet, Jesus elevated these women and others in his movement to bring his Kingdom here.
I follow in these women’s footsteps. I wish that I could look like the perfect Christian woman. I wish I was called to be a homemaker. I’m thankful for my sisters who are called to stay at home and thankful for the hospitality they provide. But culture’s demand for women to look a certain way does not negate Jesus’ call on my life.
I was called to sit at Jesus’ feet and to teach about him.
I hear my fellow sister’s criticisms when they ask why I don’t stay at home. I hear my brothers' comments about biblical manhood and womanhood and their demand that I stop teaching. I see how culture encourages the subjugation of women.
But their words and their comments do not drown out Jesus who says, “People, People, You are worried about and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. My daughter has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Some women are called to be homemakers; other women are called to be school teachers or CEOs of large companies. While other women are called to be doctors, lawyers, police officers or drill sergeants. And some women are called to be leaders in the church. Our diversity of vocation does not negate that all of us women are called to be Jesus’ disciples.
I am called to follow Jesus into bringing his kingdom here, through teaching about him. And culture and society's understanding of women’s roles will not drown out Jesus’ call on my life.