There once was a girl named Martha. She was such a hard worker and every time there was a party hosted at her home she was the best hostess ever. She made sure there was always food available for the guests, her house was spotless and she always had kind words to say to the people that came. She worked tirelessly to make sure that you felt at home when you were in her home. Martha didn’t complain much, but when she did it was mainly because she was overwhelmed and took on more than she should. Martha’s sister Mary helped but not as much as Martha would have liked. Mary loved to learn and whenever she had the chance she would sit with scholars and teachers to learn all that she could. On most days Martha didn’t mind this but one night, when they had a special guest at their home, Martha felt the waves of stress overwhelm her. She had so much to do, the soup needed stirring, and the mantel needed to be dusted. The wine was ready to be poured but there was no one available to pour it. From the corner of her eye Martha spotted Mary sitting in the living room with the guest of honor, doing what Mary did best: learning. Mary was listening to Jesus so intently she didn’t realized that she had put her duties aside, until Martha came into the room and asked Jesus a question.
It was actually more of a plea, could Jesus please make Mary help Martha with the many, many chores that still needed to be done so that when the rest of the guests arrive the house and banquet would be ready. I can relate with Martha on so many levels. We as a family don’t have a whole lot of parties and “get togethers” at our house, but there are many days were I am overwhelmed. When I look at my three kids I see three very different personalities, styles, opinions, strengths and weaknesses. They grew up knowing a certain way of thinking. They were taught the value of faith, they were taught the value of hard work, and they were taught that with family we do our best to stick together and be nice, since the outside world isn’t always that way. I look at my husband and I am so very thankful for him, he is far from perfect as am I, and because of that we have our disagreements but we always know that we will get through them. Work and the world take up the rest of what can overwhelm be and makes me start to look around and wonder why it seems there is no one here to help me. My inner Martha starts to shine through, and instead of being a gracious host I turn into a person who is resentful and envious of others who seem to have no worries at all, and so I start to complain and start begging and pleading with God to set things right, to make things easier because after all, I am doing what I am doing to be better for Him.
Mary, Martha’s sister had it right all along, she put Jesus first. How would she know to be like Him if she didn’t learn everything about Him. She knew she had chores to do and a sister to help. She knew that the responsibilities were there, but I think deeper down she knew that she wouldn’t have Jesus in the flesh always, at some point He would have to leave. Everything that could cause Mary stress and make her overwhelmed vanished into the background when she focused on Jesus. She made it look so simple. Just look to Jesus and the things that worry you won’t be gone, but they will fade because you know who is in charge.
I have to go on a trip soon, and one of things that happens when I first step onto a plane is I get a little (a lot) anxious. Over the years it has lessened but the anxiety hasn’t never fully gone away. This will be a quick trip to my parents house, but it also means that I will be taking a few days off from work, and that my family will fend for themselves for a few days. Lately I have worried more and more about my daughters because as they grow older they do start to have opinions of their own, they start dressing certain ways, and they start to have different sets of beliefs than they used to. I know this is all about them growing up, but there is always this underlying line of stress that sets me up to worry about them. It’s funny to think out of all the things I could worry about it is the life choices my girls are making that tops my list. Oh the Martha in me is creeping out again. I start to let the momma guilt take hold. Could I have been more of a role model? Could I have talked to them more about the roads they want to go down? Could I have shown my faith more by praying more and reading my Bible more? Maybe yes to these questions, but then there is the factor of the world view that shows up every time we read the paper, turn on the TV, talk with our family and friends.
When Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to him teach, she was all in, all there, there wasn’t anything that could distract her from what she was doing at that moment. No worries, no fears, no future “what ifs”. She made it look simple because it can be that simple. She put worship over worries. There just isn’t enough room in our brains and heart for both. When my hubby and I became parents we were blessed with the role of raising our kids. It has been quite the ride and we are in the teenage/preteen years now. I feel like I am holding on for dear life. We have wonderful kids that have hearts of gold. Family dynamics help us have fun together but can cause fights as well. Raising a family has it’s challenges for sure, but what if I were to sit at the feet of Jesus daily, twice daily, praying continuously as if I am in a constant conversation with Jesus would my worries fade to the background? Would I have a Mary like relationship? I know the answers are yes. I know that I am not in control, and that I can’t make my kids into the people they are becoming. I can guide, and pray, and be there for them. Oh to be like Mary in a Martha world. There is a need for Martha personalities and there is a need for Mary personalities, but there is the biggest need of all and that is the peace and strength that comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus. Find rest, find joy, and find courage to be like Mary. There is no room for worry when you are filled with worship. Until next time:
And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 41-42