Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. That means, I may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Read my full disclosure here.
If you’ve ever been part of a women’s Bible study, it is highly likely that you’ve studied Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, give us an example of two different individual’s responses to Christ and, I believe help us learn how to show hospitality as an introvert.
Martha welcomed Jesus into her home before quickly becoming “distracted with much serving” (Luke 10:40). Mary on the other hand quietly sat at Jesus’ feet, soaking up His every word. After becoming upset, Martha asked Jesus to make Mary help. Jesus then told Martha that she was “anxious and troubled” (Luke 10:41) while Mary was choosing the “good portion which won’t be taken away” (Luke 10:42).
Many current blogs are discussing the topic of hospitality and what it looks like, especially due to Rosaria Butterfield’s new book The Gospel Comes with a House Key (a book that’s definitely on my to-read list). Showing hospitality as an introvert can be a struggle. Add in being shy and socially awkward and striving to become the good, welcoming Christian seems impossible.
Mary or Martha: Who is the Introvert?
I’m tempted to see Mary as an introvert. She was not the one who welcomed Jesus in. In another story (John 11:20), it was again Martha who went out to meet Jesus. Mary is quiet, sitting and reflecting on the words of her Savior. I picture this as being a sweet and calm moment.
I would love to sit all day at the feet of my Savior, completely undistracted. Christ even commends her actions. Yet, I don’t see her response to Christ’s presence as one of an introvert caught up in the desire to rest, but as a woman who recognizes the need to seek Christ above all other things.
Yes, Martha went to greet Christ, welcoming him into their home, but she then became more preoccupied with what a good host should look like. Struggling to show hospitality as an introvert, I’d rather be taking care of details instead of people. Like Martha, I’m “anxious and troubled about many things” (Luke 10:41). I’m distracted by my personality and the expectations of the world. Hours of my time gets spent before dinner, searching Pinterest for the perfect meal, cleaning the house, making sure everything goes according to plan.
These things are not necessarily bad. In Is Interior Decorating a Distraction from Gospel Work, I said,
“Inexpensive details like making sure there is a full roll of toilet paper and that your home smells nice help others feel more comfortable. Show your guests that they have dignity and worth, that you value their presence.”
Yet, the problem comes when we are focused purely on our works. Even a quick scan of 1 John reveals that we can only love others because of the love of God in us.
“We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19
If we are not sitting at Christ’s feet, following Mary’s example, we will not know love.
Strength to Demonstrate Hospitality as an Introvert
This same Mary is later seen anointing Jesus and wiping his feet with her hair (John 12:1-8). Imagine the strength and boldness this act took. Picture all the people at the table, and then listen to Judas call out Mary’s actions, questioning her lavish display of affection for her Lord.
These were not timid actions. This physical act of worship came after abiding in and beholding the Son of God.
“…I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” – 1 John 2:14b
Abiding in Christ transforms us and gives us the strength to follow his commands. You may be an introvert, but you are to sacrifice your introvert needs to love the body (this includes your children).
“Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.” – 1 John 2:10
“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” – 1 John 3:11
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.” – 1 John 3:14
“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” – 1 John 5:1
I would highly encourage you to read all of 1 John to see the importance and connection between abiding in Christ and loving your brother.
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, soaking up His teachings, should lead to love for your brother in Christ.
Hospitality may feel harder for the introvert due to feeling the need for rest afterward. There are still, however, practical ways that introverts can show love to other believers.
3 Practical Tips for Introverts to Practice Hospitality
- Schedule time to talk to others face-to-face. Even if you aren’t an introvert, it may be easy to get caught up in your schedule or your children’s schedules. If, like Martha, you spend more time making sure your home is perfect, set up times to visit with others at the park where your children have a place to play while you talk. Be intentional with this time, maybe praying for the person and conversation beforehand.
- Invite someone into your normal, day-to-day life. I heard an encouraging word about finding time to disciple others. As a mom, this seems impossible. Yet, I should ask myself, are there things I am already doing that I can invite others to join in with me? Does your child have a baseball or soccer game? Invite someone to come and sit with you. Do you always go to the park on Mondays at 10 am? Tell your friend as a standing invitation to meet up.
- If you are in a hard season of life, truly feeling physically exhausted, you can still use your gifts to show others love. Drop off a meal (even pick-up!), give a friend a book with a prayer written in the front, or text another mom encouraging verses throughout her day. Think about the small, practical needs you can meet. Loving others doesn’t always mean hosting dinner or having lengthy conversations.
Redeem Your Routines
If you’re an introvert striving for rest, but you feel overwhelmed by your busy day as a mom, turn your attention to Christ. Learning how to meditate on Scripture transformed my most crazy or most mundane days. As a busy mom, it’s possible to think deeply about the Words of God as you go about your daily routines. Redeeming Routines, mobile guides to help women meditate on the Bible, can help make this doable for you. Check them out today.
How do you show hospitality as an introvert?
If you’re an introvert, do you struggle with hospitality and loving other believers well? What are some of the unique gifts you have to show hospitality as an introvert and build up the body of Christ?
10 thoughts on “Mary and Martha: How to Show Hospitality as an Introvert”
As an introvert, I still have a lot of Martha in me. I use making things perfect my excuse for not visiting. When we bought our new home, I wrote on the foundation in front of my kitchen sink, “Debbie, Debbie, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Choose what is better,” as a reminder that God values people over perfection in presentation. It helps me come out of hiding and enjoy others.
Interesting post, Allyson! I’ve never really thought about the implications of Mary or Martha and their personality tendencies. I think, as you pointed out, we can make a case for either of them being introverts. But I love your suggestions for pushing past our introversion and connecting with others we welcome into our home and lives. Great post that I’ve pinned!
Inviting someone into your normal day-to-day life is such a crucial concept. This is how we build deep, meaningful friendships and communities. Thank you for these tips.
As an introvert, I always gravitated toward Mary in the story where Martha was bustling about. I find myself doing both now, but there was a season where I shut out the world and didn’t know how to deal. It takes time and practice I believe, and I am so glad God is patient with us. Love this post today and sharing this one as well. Is there any way to get your 3 Ways graphic larger so we can pin this too? I will try again and see if it will let me.
I’m not sure why it wasn’t letting you pin. It’s just smaller/compressed for the page, but should pin fine. If you try again and it still doesn’t work, could you let me know so I can try to figure out what’s happening?
This is exactly what i needed as an introvert.
For years I felt that there was something wrong with me because I did not invite people into my home. One of the reason as an INFJ type introvert, I do not have much to talk about with others. I am not interested in “small talk” about t.v. reality shows, talent shows, vacations, changing hair style, etc. Sorry if that sounds rude, but I have learned from others like me this is not unusual so I have to use hospitality in other ways. Hospitality does not have to be just your home – it is sharing your heart, your talents, your faith, your finances.
Pingback: Making Mom Friends as An Introvert: Biblical Encouragement
Hi, I understand Mary’s role is more valuable. But if Martha didn’t take care of the cooking and cleaning, Mary would be in the kitchen! Because someone has to take care of those chores, right? and personally, being an introvert, it is hard to find time and energy for both without burning out! I can’t go on without resting in between ..
Pingback: Saintly Living: How to show Christian Hospitality - My Wordpress