Sunday, November 23, 2008

Becoming Mary


 3.  The other day my sweet friend commented to me, "You are so Martha".  Obviously, the first impression that is made in your mind would be the commercial and tv icon of food, baking and creativity.  How does one deserve or get branded the title of "Martha"?  About ten years ago, another friend commented, "You are so much better than Martha because you can do everything she can do...but what she can't do is sing!"   To be "like" Martha perhaps would be a goal one would pursue or you might have a similar  gifting or group of talents and abilities you were born with.
Yet when I thought about my sweet friend's comment, it drew me to another Martha, you know, the one who had a sister named Mary and a brother named Lazarus.  This Martha loved to cook, keep a home and enjoyed entertaining guests.  We could say she was a wonderful person to be with because Jesus loved to spend time with this family.  If you are anything like me, you would spend much time keeping your home, cooking meals, making the house warm, comfortable and a refuge from stress and the world outside.  I believe Martha did this.  The story of her making preparations for a special meal to feed Jesus, is proof of this.  She had much to accomplish:  Obtaining food, mostly grown herself, grinding grain into flour, milking the goats, gathering eggs, tending the open fire in the pit used for cooking, gathering and chopping wood for the fire, carrying water back from the well in the center of town...you get the idea.  All of this was necessary to prepare the daily meal.  On most days these tasks were mundane and routine, but on this particular day, everything had to be "just so".  Martha worked diligently and tended each task in the kitchen and around the house with determination.  Mary, her sister, would usually work along side, helping.  But this day was different, Mary was preoccupied and nowhere to be found in the kitchen.  Martha must have called out several times for assistance or made request for Mary to help.  Realizing, she was alone in this task, Martha began to feel frustration and anger at the added work load she was bearing.  When she reached the point of total frustration, Martha went looking for Mary and found her, sitting.  

Now, each of us, who is a homemaker understands the frustration when you ask for help and it never arrives.  So dinner will be an hour later or you give up on the notion of cooking and order a pizza.  We grow uptight, angry and this job of keeping the home a refuge turns into static and tension.  This was all Mary's fault.  She should have been helping and doing her part.  Martha had a point in her frustration and shared it verbally.  "Jesus, I have been working tirelessly in the kitchen all day.  My sister Mary has not been a help to me and now the meal will be later than planned. Please say something to her."  Jesus' response was one of insight and wisdom, and so needful for me to hear.  "Martha, you are concerned about so many things.  Your sister Mary is sitting here, next to me, listening to my words.  She wants to know what I think and hear my advice.  This is what you should be doing.  Forget about the meal and come and sit down next to Mary. Once we eat the meal, it will be gone forever, but the words that you will hear me speak will last forever and can not be taken away."  

How often do I strive to prepare and plan daily life in my home when all along, Jesus just wants to speak to me His eternal, life-giving words.  When I spend time with Him, I find my daily chores, tasks and duties of the home, and life, always seem to be accomplished smoothly.  

Yes, being "like" Martha may be flattering in either genre', but in my experience, I want to be more "like" Mary every day.

1 comment:

your sis from PA said...

Simply beautiful. I enjoy your writings. Just made my day.

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