Martha and Mary

“As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.   She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.  Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”  The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.   There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

So which sister are you?  Are you the busy one in the background trmartha and maryying to serve everyone – cater to their needs, see that everyone is comfortable and well fed?  Or are you the sister at peace in her heart – content just to be in the presence of our Lord, no worries tumbling about?

I know who I am – definitely Martha!  I can get so swept up in serving others, organization, and activities that I sometimes fail to see the greater picture – that I am a daughter of God and all he wants to do is to spend some time with me!

Now that’s not to say that he isn’t calling me to serve others, to take care of my family and to put other’s needs before my own.  I definitely feel that being a Martha rather than a Mary is my calling, my vocation.  But some days I am a little envious of the Mary’s – those who are able just to sit at Christ’s feet and marvel at the wonder in their lives, unperturbed by all the busy-ness around them.

Sometimes my own children remind me that I need to take a step back and fulfill the Mary role as well as the Martha role.  As a beautiful example, allow me tell you about an experience with my oldest daughter over last Thanksgiving.  She is 7 years old – sweet, helpful, passionate and thoughtful.  As with any extended family meal, preparations can be extensive, especially for Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 20 people!   And honestly, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is sharing in that bustling, busy time with my sister and my mom.  I love the chaos of the children coming in and out, checking the list to see what dish needs to be made next, and fending off early snackers.  It’s one of the few times that I can think of where I actually embrace the chaos around me.   But in the midst of it all, I notice my sweet Emily.  She has pulled her 5 month old baby cousin in his saucer right smack into the middle of the kitchen and is just watching him.  I see her bright eyes, her enchanted expression, the way she is doting on every coo and gurgle, and I realized…. “She had chosen the better part.”  Don’t get me wrong, she was a good helper too – tearing up bread for stuffing, mixing up salads, even setting the table – but at that moment when that little boy was awake and happy, she settled herself at his feet and gazed into the face of one who was so fresh from God.  And in that moment, I was reminded that I too must sometimes choose the better part.  I must calm myself and steal away a few moments, even if it’s a very short time, just to refocus myself on Him who loves me and just wants to spend time with me.

And then I can return to my busy time with my Martha hands serving everyone around me and my Mary heart fixed firmly on my Lord’s face.

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