I have always appreciated this story from scripture because I have never been a real effective “Martha” type. I have felt the strain most of my life of not “seeing a need and filling it”. Not reading between the lines. Not possessing the skills of esteemed house keeper and hostess. Not understanding the “common sense” complaints that women often have about their husbands. I don’t see Mary as lazy. Just a little oblivious to the things of a woman’s world. And that’s me.
I love this story because Jesus is pointing out the beauty of a life that loves God first and fills in the extras after.
Mary didn’t notice that her sister was slaving her butt off to make a nice dinner and atmosphere for the people who came to her home. Martha wanted them to be comfortable and at ease. Mary was lacking that “common sense” about a visiting guest situation. She wanted to hear what Jesus had to say, to listen and be with him first, and totally missed all the social cues she was supposed to know.
Martha is the quintessential Proverbs 31 woman, and she was missing what was important. Mary seemed like the oblivious one, but really Martha was being oblivious. I love that in the same Bible that praises Martha’s choices, Jesus takes the time to praise Mary.
I am so grateful for Mary. Because of her I can host people in my home when it’s far from perfect. Because of her I can take time to write. Because of her I am not a slave to my responsibility, but liberated by them to new heights of possibility. I am a stay at home mom of 8, and the laundry can wait on a conversation. The dishes will still be there after my Bible time. Lunch can come after cuddles.
Never do anything you can’t stop in the middle of.Theresa H
I was at a baby shower somewhere in the midst of my childbearing years and one of my friends who had 6 kids at the time (now she has 8) gave a piece of advice that changed the way I saw my work life balance as a stay at home mom. She said “never do anything you can’t stop in the middle of”. She meant it as a joke, but it completely changed my outlook. I realized all of a sudden that I had been striving against myself to fit all the things in and not neglect my children. I realized that I was fried out on the feeding and the cleaning and the meeting of emotional needs because my priorities were not prioritized at all! I was finishing jobs and moving on without ever asking if they needed to be finished at all. I was upset by the interruption to my laundry routine by the scraped knee because I had forgotten that I was home doing my laundry so could be there for the scraped knee. Not the other way around. I was helping with the math homework so I could talk to my child about diligence, not forcing my way against their lack of diligence just to get the homework done.
This is what Mary reminds me of. When I find myself getting buried under laundry, or loosing it about the dirt on the walls, I remind myself that I am here to sit at Jesus’ feet. That each of these moments is to first teach me something about Him, then something about myself, and lastly to help me impart those things to those around me (namely, my children). There is only one thing truly necessary, and it’s not a nutritious lunch, and a spotless house (although, those things are nice) but “seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matt 6:33.
We all need to remember to chose the better way.