Over the course of the last few months, I cannot tell you how many times I have read or heard mention of the story of Mary and Martha from the Bible. Today, I was sent an email that once again recounted this story. I am beginning to think God is telling me to take a hint. So after reading it today I decided to write about it because it definitely relates to me on many levels and makes me think that maybe my mother should have named me Martha!
Mary and Martha were two sisters who were visited by Jesus.
“She [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her’ ” Luke 10: 39-42
So here is how I picture it. (Ladies, I know you can relate to this. We have all been there.) Jesus and his disciples drop by for a visit and Martha asks them in. I imagine at this point she is looking around wondering if the house is clean enough. If only she would have had time to sweep! She then starts to prepare the meal. What will she fix? Oh, visitors on such short notice. While she is busy slaving and sweating over the food preparations she looks over and sees Mary just sitting there at Jesus’ feet. Well how dare her! Just look at her, lazy woman just plopped herself down in the floor and is not even thinking about lifting a finger to help me! And here I am busy in the kitchen. Hair falling in my face, clothes a wreck. (I imagine there is eye-rolling, huffing and puffing and hands on hips at this point.) Martha has worked herself into such a frenzy worrying about every little thing that she tells Jesus, “Do you not see me over here diligently preparing the meal while my sister just sits there? Make her help me!” But Jesus tells her simply that she is too anxious and worried. Mary is happy and content and he will not disturb her.
The Bible doesn’t say what Martha’s response was. Did she throw her hands in the air and stomp off? Did she hang her head in shame and agree with what Jesus revealed to her? I would like to think it left a lasting impression on her.
I am a “Martha”. Worrying over every little thing. I panic when someone stops by to visit and the house is not in perfect order, instead of being pleased that someone thought enough of us to visit. I need to open the door and smile. Not do a quick glance behind me to see if everything is in place. This should be my aspiration in all areas of my life. There are moments that I spend more time in an anxious state of mind than in the presence of God, in peace and serenity. I shamefully admit that. I need to constantly “choose my part…the good part” that God has laid out for me. It is mine and it is there for the taking anytime I desire. It is my goal to be Mary in a Martha world. A world where life is fast-paced, busy, always in motion. I want to slow down and concentrate on the things that have the most meaning. Life will be much simpler when I do.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27)