Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) Sunday School Lesson and Activities

Serving others is important, but we need to keep our relationship with Jesus the first priority. In this powerful event from Luke’s Gospel, Jesus explains this spiritual lesson to Martha and Mary. Use these free Bible lessons and teaching activities for kids based on Luke 10:38-42. They are perfect for your children’s ministry, Sunday School class, or kids church lessons.

Make Time for Jesus!  Kids’ Sunday School Lesson and Bible Teaching Activities on the Story of Mary and Martha from Luke 10:38-42

What does God want from us? How much do we need to do in order to earn His favor? The truth is, there’s nothing we can or should do to please God. He loves us for who we are, and wants to spend time with us and hear from us. Children might not be as “busy” or overwhelmed as adults, but can still benefit from remembering that Jesus values our time and calls us to slow down and rest in Him.

Lesson focus: In this lesson, students will hear the story of Martha and Mary, and learn from it the importance of taking time to spend with Jesus and listening for His voice. Though a seemingly short and simple passage, it communicates powerful truths that children can carry with them long-term.

Scripture Passage: Luke 10:38-42

Target Audience: Elementary School, adaptable for K-6th Grades (children age 5 to 12).

Materials Needed: Construction paper, decorative materials, paper plates, glue, brad fasteners, scissors, Bible (all optional, depending which activities you choose to use—except for the Bible, you need that for sure).

More Teaching Activities on Mary & Martha

Game Activities to Introduce the Bible Lesson

Lesson Opening: This lesson is about resting and working, as well as spending time with Jesus. Begin with activities or questions that prompt students to think about the topics.

Here are some activities to get kids thinking…(select the best ones for your audience and age group): 

  • Discuss how time is spent, and create a chart of ways that students spend time. What takes up the majority of scheduling? Are there ways that we can make more time for Jesus?
  • “Rest, Martha!” Freeze dance game. Have students act “busy” or dance to music, but pause and call on them to stand still by shouting “rest, Martha!” or saying “Mary was still.”
  • Red light/green light: Play the classic playground game, or vary it by calling out “Martha/Mary” instead of “red light/green light.”
  • Listen up! Part of the story is about listening to God. Invite students to listen to various sounds and identify what they might be. Alternatively, play a round of telephone.

Explain that today’s story is about listening to Jesus and slowing down our lives to hear His voice.

Ask: What do you think it means to make time for Jesus? What can you do to be with Him?

Sunday School Coloring Page Activities for Preschoolers

It wasn’t a surprise when our readers chose Jesus as the theme for our free letter J coloring sheet. The illustration shows Jesus welcoming children, as he often did in the Gospels. It’s important for kids to know that Jesus considers them just as important as the grown-ups at church.

J is for Jesus coloring pagePin

Children’s Sermon Object Lesson for Kids Church

Lesson Objective: As adults we know that it is easy to get too busy and distracted by our lives, and neglect to spend time with God. While children might not have the same amount of work due to scheduling, they are more easily distracted. This message reminds children to be present with Jesus and listen for His voice. To illustrate how distraction can distract us from God, the lesson uses an example of distraction. God loves us regardless of what and wants us spend time with him!

Bible Story Video for Kids: Jesus, Mary, and Martha

Watch this simple video in your children’s ministry to teach the story of Martha and Mary for kids.

Sunday School Lesson (Luke 10:38-42) Martha and Mary

Bible Lesson:  As always, how you choose to experience the passages will vary according to the ages and abilities of your children (and how many are participating). This story is a short one, but can still be read or acted out with fun embellishments!

Open up by explaining that Jesus was supported by a lot of friends during His time on Earth. He traveled a lot, and was hosted by people who allowed Him and His disciples to stay at their homes and eat their food. In one instance, He went to a place where He was welcomed by a couple of sisters…

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:38-39

Ask: What would you do if Jesus came over to your house for dinner? What would you serve Him to eat?

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”  -Luke 10:40

Mary was listening to Jesus, but Martha was busy. She was getting food ready, and got upset that her sister was just sitting still with Jesus. She came to ask for help from the Lord.

Ask: What are some things that distract you from following God? Have you ever felt upset that someone else wasn’t working as hard as you? Do you think you tend to work hard, like Martha, or do you sit still like Mary?   

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”  -Luke 10:41-42

The answer that Jesus gives here is important. Martha wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was making sure Jesus got fed, which was a positive thing! However, the problem was that she got distracted, and didn’t understand what was most important. Jesus didn’t just want her doing chores to take care of Him; He wanted her time and love. Mary was willing to sit and just be with her Lord.

Explain to kids that God wants our time and our lives, too. We can get distracted, or sometimes think that we need to work hard for Jesus and do a lot of things. But Jesus cares about our hearts. He wants us just as we are, and sometimes that means resting and taking time to be in God’s presence. We don’t have to be busy all the time. We don’t have to do special activities. Just sit still, talk to God, and listen for what He might have for you!

Close with a prayer thanking God for loving us no matter what. Ask for help to listen for the voice of Jesus, and to take time to sit still and rest in Him.

Craft Ideas for Martha and Mary with Jesus

How can we slow down, and make Christ the first priority in everything? What does it mean for us to make time for God? While children might not be able to understand the concept of time and schedule conflicts as well as adults, it is important to teach them the importance to make specific time for God. This craft relates to the story of Martha & Mary. Martha did nothing wrong but was distracted and busy serving others, while her sister listened to Jesus. A “Put Christ First Doorhanger” provides a visual prompt for prayer and thinking of God in all things. The “Take Time for Jesus Clock”, which expresses similar feelings, has a timing theme. You can use either one or both of these to place God at the center of your story.

Crafts: Crafts for this story should remind students to take time to sit and be still with Jesus, remembering that He is more important than any of our chores or lists. Consider one of these options:

  • Make a “Take Time for Jesus Clock” by decorating a paper plate to look like a clock. Add items that would be examples of taking time for the Lord (prayer, Bible study, etc.) and attach paper “clock hands” with brad fasteners.
  • “Time out for God Door Hanger”: Decorate a door hanger with reminders to slow down and sit still with Jesus. Add verses and captions and hang in a prominent place.
  • Mary and Martha puppets: Recreate the story by crafting puppet versions of Martha and Mary, using paper bags or popsicle sticks. Use the puppets to share the story.

FAQ about Mary and Martha Bible Story for Kids

Who was Martha and Mary in the Bible?

Martha and Mary were two sisters who lived in Bethany, a village near Jerusalem. Together with their brother Lazarus, they were close friends of Jesus. Martha is best known for her hospitality, and she is often mentioned in the Gospels in connection with meals that she prepared for Jesus and his disciples. Mary, on the other hand, is best known for her devotion to Jesus. She is mentioned several times in the Gospels as sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to his teaching.
While Martha and Mary are both well-known figures in the Bible, they each have very different characteristics. Martha is often seen as the more practical sister, while Mary is seen as the more spiritual sister. However, both sisters play an important role in the story of Jesus. Martha’s hospitality reminds us of the importance of welcoming others into our homes, while Mary’s devotion reminds us of the importance of spending time with Jesus and learning from him.

How can I teach the story of Martha and Mary to preschoolers at church?

The story of Martha and Mary is a powerful teaching about the importance of prioritizing our time with God. It can be difficult to teach this story to preschoolers, who have short attention spans and may not be able to sit still for very long. However, there are some ways to make the story more engaging for them. One approach is to use puppets or other props to act out the story. You can also use simple language and ask lots of questions to help them understand the main points. By taking a creative and interactive approach, you can give preschoolers a deeper understanding of the story of Martha and Mary.

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