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.
And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
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.
And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.’
My husband can attest to the fact that this scripture causes me to react with righteous indignation, frustration and heated sarcastic remarks. Couldn’t Mary have helped Martha more so they both could feast at the feet of the Savior? Why didn’t the Lord commend Martha for the time and preparations she made for his arrival? Even recounting the scene causes me to get flustered.
I imagine a similar scene in my mind and of course I am in the place of Martha. Mary is at the feet of the Savior and I am stewing in the kitchen. Cooking a literal stew with fresh baked ciabatta bread on the side. I am simultaneously scrubbing dishes, cleaning out the fridge and balancing the checkbook in my head, while emotional stewing in my self righteous thoughts and feelings.
I AM Martha.
I don’t time to study the scriptures, the baby is crying and the dinner is burning. I am not able to meditate right now, there is a trail of sticky honey on the kitchen floor and right after I clean that up I am pretty sure that I will discover REAL milk in the play tea set (true story ;)) . I can’t justify going on that evening walk with the Savior right now, The homeschool week isn’t planned and I still haven’t KonMari’d the enormous stacks of paper in the office. There are at least 10,786 things that need to be done RIGHT now. I have told my mind these things so many times the past few years that I hardly question them any more. I have allowed this deception to distance me from the closeness I could have with the Savior by giving myself permission to BE Mary right now.
I know that God appreciates my efforts. I do not question that the work I do for our home and family are VITAL….. but I also know that he has given us a better way.
Tonight as I was watching the kids play outside, a beautiful double rainbow appeared across the sky and while I was admiring it’s beauty, a beautiful as-strong-as-stone and as-thick-as-molasses spiritual truth hit me straight in my heart.
“Become Mary first and I will help you find the time for your “Martha tasks”.
Come unto me and I will help you plan your homeschool year.
Draw near unto me and I will give you the energy you need to run and play with your children.
Pour out your soul to me and I will give you the patience to be loving and kind to your husband.
Feast upon my words and your mind will be quick and focused.
Serve me by serving others and I will make the space you need for self care.
I was able to clearly visualize myself praying and reading the scriptures before my kids woke up. When they came downstairs I felt refreshed, rested, guided and at peace. I knew that this image and this simple but profound truth was sent to me personally.
God loved Martha. Her efforts were not going unnoticed. God knew that by feasting upon the words of Christ that she would be better equipped to handle all of the earthly tasks that awaited her.
This week I am praying for the spiritual focus to seek to be like Mary first, so that I will be guided throughout the day in my Martha work.
How have you reacted to that story? Did you have another interpretation?
I would love to hear your thoughts.