A Very Mary Martha

Luke 10:38-42 “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “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.” There are few things as rejuvenating to the spirit as the first snap of chilly air to usher in the fall season. That feeling of rejuvenation, particularly for women, has the tendency to be quickly followed by panic: Halloween costumes, fall classroom parties, Thanksgiving meal planning, Christmas shopping, the creation of holiday traditions and Christmas. So. Many. Things. To. Do. For years I learned about the Bible characters Mary and Martha: about Mary’s eagerness to sit in the presence of the Lord and just soak it up, and Martha’s control freak tendencies that left her unable to maintain a heart of worship. Black and white. Be Mary. Don’t be Martha. Check and check. I have to wonder if Martha’s heart wasn’t in the wrong place, after all. Maybe she felt like she was using the gifts that God had placed in her to glorify Him, but in doing so, she merely missed the point. Jesus didn’t tell Martha she was wrong only that Mary’s choice was the better one. Imagine inviting guests over for dinner to enjoy fellowship, wonderful wine and a home cooked meal, only when they arrive, you’ve spent so much time thinking about being together in company that you’ve done nothing else. Rather than welcoming them to your home replete with anticipation and warmth and cleanliness and a full table, there are piles of laundry and dishes and junk mail and bills where candles should be burning, a pie should be cooling, floors glistening, and place settings waiting. But you’re together, so… yay! That just isn’t our reality as women. There must be a Martha to insure that the atmosphere of a home is set and brimming with love and fullness and life. But, there must also be a Mary, with a heart set on finding the joy in the moments, a heart set on finding contentment and rest. Mary’s job to savor a delicious meal certainly is a bit easier when there’s a Martha to set the table and roast the chicken. My prayer for you as we enter a season as full of wonder and treasures as it is of obligations and tasks, is that you be neither entirely a Mary nor a Martha, but instead that you embrace and seek to maintain a posture as a Mary-Martha. As women, mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters, God has uniquely gifted us with the ability to do and manage a lot… all the things. What may come less naturally to us is the inclination to enjoy all the things. I pray that while the plates are spinning and lists are being checked, that we also take inventory of our own hearts and hold ourselves accountable to curl up in the Lord’s lap and listen to His heart and desire for us… that we be Marys in spirit while we practice Martha’s diligence in action.