I had a conversation with a few lovely ladies the other day. We were talking about the story of Martha and Mary, in the book of Luke Chapter 10:verse 38-42.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
It’s funny how a 5 verse story can get right to the point. No frilly words, just BAM! You suddenly see what’s important very clearly. Mary had it right, and Martha missed out because she was worried about the wrong things.
I hate to admit that more often than not, it stresses me out to think of someone showing up unannounced to our abode of chaos. Three kids, a very hard working husband, and a Momma with more than 20 surgeries under her belt…can equal a very messy situation. The base of the toilet can feel unreachable to my crippled body, the dishwasher so far away, and the vacuum so very heavy. Martha from the Book of Luke, as well as Martha Stewart would scoff if her home was in this kind of shape. The 5 loads of laundry sitting unfolded in the living room chair, can only temporarily distract you from the sink that is at least half full with breakfast bowls and spoons. You want to use the restroom? Okay cool. Let me just go in there real quick and pick up the underwear one of my kids evaporated out of, off the floor. I’ll just put some toilet paper on the holder and frantically wipe the toothpaste blob out of the sink. What? Why are there markers in here…and is that my lipgloss? Just picture me coming out of the bathroom looking frazzled, carrying underpants, apologetic and embarrassed for living in a home full of the monkeys from Jumanji. I’ll go in my kitchen and offer you a glass of water, and try to covertly wipe the smudges from a glass that the dishwasher has failed. I’ll at least give Martha the benefit of the doubt in this story. I can see from this story that Martha does care and thinks she is caring for Jesus and those in this home. She may want to be in that room talking to Jesus just as much as Mary, but feels a sense of duty. The dinner wasn’t going to make itself you know.
Mary…sweet Mary. Mary wanted to visit and learn and recognized the preciousness of this interaction. She somehow pulled herself away from social norms and expectations of being a good hostess to her guest, and she realized that the state of the home and the duties of the day, should not take priority over visiting with the son of God. By the way, this really ticked off Martha. It almost sounds like she taddles on her to Jesus. I so wish I could say that I would have been Mary. I don’t know. Sometimes I see these things clearly and can keep my priorities straight. Sometimes I find myself frantically picking children’s dirty underwear off a bathroom floor in a frenzy and muttering about how I’m the only one who picks up everyone’s junk. I think I’m a Dollop of Martha and a Pinch of Mary.
The predominant thought that occurs to me, is that every day I have this choice. Do I revert into Martha mode, running from one responsibility to the next, and getting overwhelmed? Sometimes I do. I have to make a concious effort to be Mary. I have to visit with my Lord. I need that to take priority. That doesn’t mean I kick the dirty underpants around with abandon and stop fulfilling my Mom and wife responsibilities. I am just going to really really REALLY try to do it with a communication line that isn’t being drowned out by the appointments, and laundry and school chauffeuring, and grocery shopping and bill paying, that has a way of squelching a whole day. There will always be work to be done. We are always feeling the pressing of responsibilities, sometimes so much so that we get lost in it. God has this way of immediately clarifying something that seems murky. I need to desire Him above all else, kneel at His feet, talk to Him and listen when He speaks.