Mary and Martha (Revised)

February 5-March 5, 2006

Antioch Arcade


Scripture: Luke 10:38-42


Memory Verse: “Be still, and know that I am God”

    Psalm 46:10 (CEV)


Offering:  Food Bank



  • Don’t worry about little things.
  • Jesus wants us to listen to God.
  • Do the best you can and don’t worry about what others are doing.



1.      Older children will locate the story of Mary and Martha in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in Luke.

  1. Children will be able to retell the story.
  2. Children will play a game in which they think about choices they make.
  3. The class will discuss why Mary’s choice was the better one.



Welcome and Introductions:  (10:00)

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your name tag. Make sure the children are wearing name tags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week who may not know you.


2.      Open with a brief prayer (optional, as they have just prayed in Great Hall).


3.      Explain the purpose of this workshop. Today we’ll talk about the story of Mary and Martha and the choices that they made, and we’ll play a game where you’ll have to make some choices.


Scripture/Bible Story: (10:05)

1. Start with a discussion of what happens when friends/family get together:

  • Did anyone go to a friend or relative’s house for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Did people come to your house instead?
  • Who cooked the food? Who helped clean up? What did you do to help?
  • Why do so many people go to somebody else’s home for holidays? (Family, friends, spending special time with people we love, etc.)
  • Did the host or hostess (who did all the work) get to socialize much with the guests? How much did they enjoy the holiday? Did they catch up on what’s going on with their loved ones? Did they get to watch the parades or any football? So, was this much of a holiday for them?
  • What’s the most important thing about get-togethers? (People—relationships, etc.)

2. Now let’s look at the story in the Bible about what happened when Mary and Martha had a very important guest in their home.

a.       Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them that the story is in Luke. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. Extra Bibles are in the room. Help the students to find the book of Luke. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)


b.      If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is made up of books, which are divided into chapters and verses. Remind them that the first four books of the New Testament are the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John. Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. After finding Psalms, if they then take the pages on the right side and divide them in half, they’ll land somewhere in the gospels. From there they should be able to find Luke.


c.       After they’ve found Luke, help them find chapter 10, then verse 38. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at top of every page.


3.      Read the story from the CEV or review it using the summary below as a guide. Either way, be dramatic! Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks:


  • Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Variation for older kids: Use the timer in the supply bin (or just a watch with a second hand). First child starts telling the story. After 15 seconds, second student picks up the tale, even if in mid-sentence. Keep going around circle until complete story is told.


  • Tell the story back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you. (Especially fun for the younger ones -- but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation.)


  • Photocopy the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up and see if they can put it back together correctly.



Story Summary


Jesus and his disciples were traveling and they came to the village where Jesus’ friends Mary and Martha lived (According to the book of John, the village was Bethany. You might point out the location on the wall map to the older children.)


 Martha welcomed Jesus into her home and got busy cooking and taking care of the guests. Meanwhile, her sister Mary sat down in front of Jesus and listened to everything he said. Martha was worried about all the work that had to be done and irritated that Mary wasn’t helping. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, "Lord, doesn't it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!"


Jesus answered, "Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her."


Application: (10:15)

Have the children stand in the center of the room. Designate the corners of the room A, B, C, D. Use the questions at the end of the lesson plan (and feel free to add some of your own). Read the questions; after each question have the children go to the corner that represents their choice. Emphasize that there are no right or wrong answers and that people will make different choices. For some of the questions, have them act out their choice as they go or after they get there (see suggested actions on third question).

After each choice, have the children return to the center of the room.

The questions near the end might be better for the older children; use your judgment as the game goes on.


Reflection Time: (10:30)

Gather the class in a circle and discuss:

In the game, was it sometimes hard to choose? Did anybody make a choice because it would be the easiest thing to do? Because one of your friends made that choice? Did anybody try to get a friend to make the same choice?

In the Bible story, I wonder why Martha was upset.  (She was doing all the work; Mary was enjoying time with their guest.)

What did Jesus tell Martha? (That she was worried about things that weren’t important, that Mary had made a better choice. Don’t worry about little things.)

Why was Mary’s choice better? (Because at that particular time, listening to Jesus and learning from him was the most important thing.)

Does this mean that chores aren’t necessary? Doesn’t somebody have to cook and clean? What could Martha have done differently? (Maybe prepared ahead of time if she knew Jesus was coming; asked Mary for help before Jesus got there; fixed a simpler meal, not worried about having everything perfect, not tried to force Mary to make the same choice she did, etc. We don’t know all the circumstances so we can’t be sure what all Martha’s options were; we just know she was so worried about her chores that she was missing the point of having Jesus visit.)

Remind the class: Martha’s mistake was forgetting what was most important at that moment. Some other time, Martha’s housework might be the most important thing. Also, Martha was wrong to assume that her choice was the right one for Mary. Do the best you can and don’t worry about what others are doing.


Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46: 10.  Who in the story did that? I wonder how we can we do it? (Prayer, talking to people you respect, think about things you’ve learned at church or from the Bible, have quiet time to think and meditate, etc. Jesus wants us to listen to God.)


Journals (10:35): Pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal pages as a reminder of the workshop. Read the prompt out loud and offer suggestions if needed. If they don’t know how to spell a word, write it on the white board. Those who finish early can turn the page over and do the activity on the back.


Closing: (10:45)

Ask the students to put away their pencils/markers and sit quietly.


Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to the Food Bank.


Prayer (suggestion): Lord, please help us to be still and listen to you, and help us make good choices. Amen.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask the children to help collect Bibles, pencils, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.


Note: Sometimes the kids participate better if they get little rewards along the way. Especially for the older, more sophisticated kids, it gives them an “excuse” to show some enthusiasm (“I’m just doing it for the candy”). Skittles seem to be the general favorite, but for this workshop consider using M&Ms (Mary & Martha, get it?). Give kids an M&M for bringing their Bible, for finding the Bible passage, for answering a question, one to everybody if the discussion of the story goes well, one to everybody who acts out a choice during the game, one to everybody who writes in their journal, one to everybody on the way out the door, etc. — and tell them that from now on, when they eat M&Ms they should think of Mary and Martha. Have several small jars of M&Ms on hand and have the shepherds help with distribution. (Check with shepherds and make sure nobody is diabetic or has a peanut allergy. Peanuts are listed as an ingredient even on plain M&Ms


Extra Activity if time permits:

Grades 1-2: Play telephone. Have everyone line up with the teacher being at one end. Explain that you will whisper something in the first child’s ear and he/she is to repeat what you said, whispering in the next child’s ear and continue down the line until the last child (you can mix the line up and give all kids a chance to be at beginning or end of the telephone line). That child is to say out loud the message he/she received. Was the message that the child said the same as the original message? Do this with a quiet room and then with a loud room (have shepherd bang on something).


Phrases to use: "Jesus loves me", "She sells seashells”, “Make good choices,” “Praise be to God."


Afterward, ask:

Was it easier to hear the message that was being passed along when it was quiet or noisy? When do you think it’s easiest to talk to and listen to God? While you’re watching a movie or listening to music? Or when you’re praying or at church or Sunday school? Jesus wants us to take some time to listen quietly to him and talk (pray) to him.


Grades 3-5: Play a few rounds of “who can find the Bible passage first.” Have them close their Bibles between passages. Try the memory verse and these passages where Mary and Martha are mentioned:

Psalm 46:10 (the wording will be different in the CEV)

John 11: 1

Luke 10: 38

John 12: 1-3


Teacher preparation in advance:

1.           Read Luke 10:38-42. You might also read John 11, for the story of Jesus healing Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha. Another interesting passage is John 12:1-8. Notice that Martha, true to form, is serving dinner while Mary is pouring oil on Jesus’ feet!

2.           Attend the Faith Quest Workshop Leaders Bible Study.

3.           Prepare opening and closing prayers.

4.           Room set-up (must wait until after Total Life Center closes on Friday).

5.           Optional: Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, meditative music for Reflection time. A boom box is located in the Puppet workshop cabinet.

6.           Write the memory verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way. (Look in the supply bin for a dry-erase marker.)

7.           Post signs designating four corners of the room as A, B, C and D.


Supply List

Extra Bibles

Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)

Journal pages

Four signs: A, B, C, D

M&Ms (optional)



Cathy W. Disciple Builders. Rotation: “Too Busy For Jesus.” Disciple Playhouse Workshop.

St. Elmo’s Choir. “Mary and Martha.” Bible Skills and Games Workshop.

Storytelling ideas:

Questions for Game


1. What are you most thankful for?

A. Your parents

B. Your friends

C. Your pet

D. Your brother or sister

2. What part of the church service do you like best?

A. Singing hymns

B. Children’s Sermon

C. Apostle’s Creed

D. Lord’s Prayer

3. For this question, you don’t just go to a corner; you act out your choice. The Bible tells us to love our enemies. How would you show love for an enemy?

A. Pray for him.  (Pray your way to the corner.)

B. Invite him to a party. (Invite someone else as you go to the corner)

C. Help her with her homework. (Act this out with someone after you get to the corner)

D. Say something nice to her. (Act this out after you get to the corner)

4. Which of these rooms in the church do you like best?

A. Sanctuary

B. Fellowship Hall (downstairs)

C. Great Hall

D. Kitchen

5. I’m going to name four of the Faith Quest workshops. Which do you like best?

A. Apostle’s Playhouse

B. Holywood

C. Praising Puppets

D. Creation Station

6. Act this one out: How do you praise God?

A. Singing

B. Talking about God.

C. Praying

D. Helping other people

7. Complete the sentence: One person in the Bible that I wish I could be like is:

A. Noah

B. Daniel

C. An angel

D. A shepherd

8. Act this one out with your facial expression. Complete the sentence:

I need prayer when I’m:

A. scared

B. sick

C. trying to make a decision

D. trying to do something hard

9. Complete the sentence: A Christian is one who:

A. Believes in Jesus

B. Loves Jesus

C. Tries to live like Jesus

D. Tells others about Jesus

10. Complete the sentence: I wish God would:

A. Stop all the wars in the world.

B. Give everybody in the world enough food to eat.

C. Save the world from pollution.

D. Make sure everybody has medical care.

11. Which of the following do you need most in your life at this time?

A. Love

B. Joy

C. Peace

D. Hope