Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Are You a Mary, or a Martha?

In the gospel of Luke we find recorded a visit that Jesus paid to the home of a pair of sisters, Mary & Martha; the same sisters whose brother Lazarus dies and is restored to life by Jesus, recorded in the eleventh chapter of John.
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 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!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
- Luke 10:38-42 NIV
Martha is a great hostess, working to make everything just right for her honored guest.  Mary is a lazy slug, at least in Martha's view, who does nothing except listen to Jesus.  In exasperation, she chastens Jesus for letting Mary get away with doing nothing, instructing him to send Mary to the kitchen.

Jesus loving response to Martha is a reminder that the cooking and cleaning are not as important as he is.  I can just picture him patting a cushion and inviting Martha to take a break and spend some time with him.  And I can also picture Martha assuring him that she will; right after she takes care of a few more important preparations for dinner.

I can see that so clearly because Martha is my role model.  I want to spend time sitting at Jesus feet with Mary, absorbing what he has to say and basking in his presence.  But first I need to send an email, read an article, go out and pull some weeds, prepare a lesson, write up a blog post, give my mother in law her pills, and a million other little things.  Most of them take very little time, but collectively they seem to occupy my day.  I know Jesus is patting the cushion he has placed beside him, inviting me to join him.  And any time now I am going to get caught up and be able to take a break and sit down with him for a while; at least until my phone chimes with a new email.

Oh to be more like Mary!

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