Last week was Thanksgiving. You most likely spent it with family. Some families get along great (I’m blessed to be part of one that falls into this category). But some…well, let’s just say it isn’t the holidays without a little bickering.
The Bible tells a story of a typical family, one with two sisters who couldn’t have been more different: Mary and Martha. (Their brother Lazarus is the one whom Jesus raised from the dead.)
John 10 gives a little glimpse into their lives. Martha was the responsible (most likely older!) sister, who was on the ball and worked her tail off to make sure everything was ready when Jesus came to stay with them. I totally get Martha. I relate to her. She and I would’ve been good friends if I’d lived 2,000 years ago.
And then there’s Mary: the free spirit (my interpretation). The lover/peacemaker. The one who might be prone to wandering off because she’s marveling in nature on a beautiful day.
The one I don’t understand one bit, because to me—at first glance—she was lazy.
I mean, hello! There were things to be done and all she was doing was sitting “at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (John 10:39b). Meanwhile, Martha was running around like a chicken with her head cut off. In my mind, I can see the feathers flapping and flying as she races around the kitchen.
But here’s the thing. Even though Martha’s intentions were good, even though she was taking care of others and serving them, Jesus told her that “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (John 10:42b).
That’s right. Mary chose what was better. Jesus also told Martha these wise words: “[Y]ou are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one” (John 10:41b-42a).
That “one” thing that’s needed? His name is Jesus.
It’s so, so easy for me to get wrapped up in all that I have to “do.” Our lives are full of “doing.” Much of the time, the activities that fill our day are intended to lift others up and serve the Lord. And that, in and of itself, is not a bad thing.
What is bad is when the “doing” outweighs—or altogether obliterates—the time spent praying, seeking God’s face, aching to know Him better, and simply sitting at his feet, listening to what He has to say.
Your Turn: Have you ever struggled with being a Martha? Do you have any suggestions for becoming a Mary (my ears are open!)?
Photo courtesy of Rawich: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1758