Mary and Martha (Revised)

February 5-March 5, 2006

Praising Puppets


Scripture:        Luke 10:38-42


Memory Verse:         ”Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10



  • Jesus wants us to listen to God.
  • God wants us to be considerate, patient, loving, and kind.
  • Do the best you can and don’t worry about what others are doing.


Objectives:     This workshop will focus on the attitudes that Mary and Martha showed while they were serving Jesus.  Although they both intended to give Jesus the best they had to offer, Mary listened attentively while Martha worked with resentment.  Jesus said that Mary had “chosen the better part” compared to Martha who was “distracted by many things”.  The children will discuss that any activity can be done with a cheerful attitude of caring or with a sour attitude of discontentment. 



Welcome and Introductions:

  1. Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name tag.  Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.
  2. Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to talk about their attitude when they listen and when they do their work.  The Bible story today gives an example of someone who was a good listener and someone who had a bad attitude toward her work. 


Bible Story:

  1. Ask all children to find Luke 10:38-42 in their Bibles.  Since this is a short passage, it is an opportunity to add a little Bible teaching—especially for the younger children.  Points that can be mentioned are: The Bible is written in books (Luke is the book we are reading today), Luke is in the New Testament; it is one of the four Gospels. 


a.       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.


  1. The workshop leader and shepherd will need to help younger children find the passage.  You can also provide some background information:  Jesus had friends just as we do.  The Bible story we’re about to read talks about two women, named Martha and Mary, who along with their brother Lazarus became good friends of Jesus.  There are other stories about this family.  In this story, Jesus is called “Lord” sometimes.  Now read the passage to the children.   


  1. Discuss the passage with emphasis on Mary and Martha’s attitudes.  With younger children, ask the children who had the better attitude in this story.  Also mention that we have a choice about our attitude and that every activity—even listening--can be done with a pleasant or an unpleasant attitude.  With older children, you can ask a few more questions, such as, what does it mean that Martha was worried about all that had to be done?  Jesus and his disciples were invited to Martha’s house—probably for a meal, maybe even to sleep there and eat several times with them.  Martha was probably worried about preparing food and all the other things that need to be ready when you have guests.  Have you had guests at your house lately—either friends or relatives?  Was anyone in your family having to work a lot to get ready? What sorts of things did they have to do? Maybe change sheets, make beds, blow up mattresses, buy extra food, make large quantities of food, clean rooms, vacuum, etc.  How would you describe Martha’s attitude?  Worried, angry, not able to sit down and relax, maybe wants everything done, maybe likes to direct others’ activities.  How would you describe Mary’s attitude?  Very interested in what Jesus had to say about God.  Would rather hear Jesus than worry about other things.  Do you think Martha should have talked to Mary directly about helping her?  Opinion question.  It is always a good idea when you are angry with someone or don’t like what they are doing to speak directly with them before you involve anyone else.  What would have happened if Martha had decided to sit down to listen to Jesus as well?  Things wouldn’t have gotten done, but maybe only what was needed would have been done, and maybe everyone would have pitched in to help when these things were needed.  Who did Jesus say had chosen the better thing?  Mary, the one that listened to Jesus talk about God.



   Younger children (1ts-2nd grade)

  1. Divide the younger children into pairs and pass out puppets to each child.  It does not matter which puppet goes to which child. 
  2. Tell the children that for this part one puppet will be the “speaker” and one the “listener” but the “speaker” is only to pretend to talk.  Both puppets should be silent and just show their actions and attitudes without words.  The puppets can actually talk later. 
  3. Have the “speaker” pretend to have a pleasant conversation without regard to what the “listener” is doing. 
  4. Have the listener puppet first demonstrate “good listening”.  If necessary you can clue the children on what their puppet would be doing if it were listening with a good attitude such as sitting quietly, looking at the speaker, paying attention, etc. 
  5. Then instruct the listener puppets to demonstrate a bad attitude for listening.  Again only give help to the children that need it with suggestions such as having their puppets look around at other things, turn their back on the speaker, pretend to talk themselves, twiddle their hands, etc.
  6. After a few minutes, call the children’s attention back to you and have a brief discussion about a listener’s attitude.  Ask them which attitude Mary had during the Bible story today.
  7. Tell the children that they will do a similar activity showing the puppets’ attitude toward doing a job.  Each puppet will pretend to be picking up toys.  The workshop leader could bring in small items such as Legos, clothespins, etc., for the puppets to move from one place to another as if they were cleaning up. 
  8. Let the children choose which puppet will have a pleasant attitude and which will grumble and complain about the job.  Let them spend a few minutes demonstrating working with both a good and bad attitude.  If needed suggest the “pleasant” puppet could whistle, talk about how nice it will be when all the toys are put away, how he likes to help, etc.  The “unpleasant” puppet could complain about how unfair it is that they do all they work, why can’t their sister help, how big the job is, etc. 
  9. End the demonstration when you feel the children have adequately shared the puppets’ different attitudes toward doing their jobs. 
  10. Spend a few minutes to tie the Bible story and the puppet demonstrations together.  Ask the children which puppet was like which Bible character, which attitude of the puppets Jesus would like best, and what attitudes Jesus wants us to have when we are listening and doing jobs. 


Older children (3rd-5th grade) 

  1. Ask the children to divide into groups of four (get creative if the numbers don’t work out) and pass out two puppets to each group.  All the children will be scriptwriters.  Designate half of the groups to write a very short play (maybe 4-5 lines) about good and bad listeners.  Ask the other half to write about working with a pleasant and an unpleasant attitude. Adults will want to be available to help with spelling and interactions of the groups.
  2. As the groups develop their scripts, they can take turns reading and acting out the scripts.  Each group can decide whether two will read and two will act or whether some children will read and act while others watch.  (Some children love to perform with puppets, and some would rather watch.)  Have them switch roles until everyone has had a chance to do something they wanted to do.
  3. If the children are stuck creatively, suggest that they can use the Bible story as an example.  If needed, the workshop leader can offer some of the specifics listed above for the younger children as ideas.
  4. Allow the groups enough time to plan their play, write the script and to practice it once or twice.      If time allows and children are willing, each group can perform their play in front of the class from the floor or using the puppet stage.    At the end of each play, ask which group showed Mary’s attitude and which showed Martha’s attitude. 
  5. The discussion can easily be ended here, but if time permits, take the discussion into the idea of “fairness” and “unfairness”.  Even though it seemed “unfair” for Martha to do all the work, Jesus did not demand that Mary make it “fair” by helping her.  Rather Jesus said that Mary’s attitude of listening and giving her time freely to Jesus was better.   Ask the children how Martha could have changed her attitude so that she didn’t feel it was “unfair”.  As needed, suggest she could have looked at her work as a service or gift to Jesus rather than a miserable chore she had to do alone.   By understanding that she and Mary were both giving their time to Jesus—just in different ways—she could have felt less burdened and overworked.        


Reflection Time (If time permits):

  1. At 10:35 a.m. pass out the journal pages and pencils/markers.
  2. At 10:45 ask the students to put away their pencils/markers and sit quietly for prayer.



Prayer (suggestion): God help us give our time freely to others whether we are listening to them or whether we are doing a job for them.  Help us have a pleasant attitude in all that we do.  Thank God for the examples he has given us in the Bible.  Amen.


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up.  Put pillows behind stage area. Put away boom box, workshop bin, etc.


Teacher preparation in advance:

 Pray about preparing and leading this lesson.

1.      Read the scripture passage and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study. 

2.       Prepare an opening/closing prayer.

3.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. Optional:  Bring a CD or tapes music for background music while you are gathering, meditative music for reflection time.