Saturday, 1 February 2014
Are You a Mary or A Martha?
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Whenever God needs to put things into perspective for me, He will usually find a way for me to read the story of Mary and Martha. I’ll be sitting at church and it will be the Gospel for that Sunday, or I’ll stumble upon it while reading the Bible or someone will mention it on the radio. Most of us have heard this story a million times. We all know that while Mary, is sitting and listening to Jesus, Martha is too busy with her house work to sit down and do the same. After all, I’m sure she had supper to make because Jesus just dropped by (I always wonder if he was unannounced), and her house might have been messy so she needed to tidy up. After running around for a while she goes up to Jesus and asks Him to get Mary to come help her with the house work. But instead, Jesus reminds Martha that Mary is not worried about all this stuff and has decided to spend time with Him and listen to Him because He is what is most important.
I am a Martha and if Jesus dropped by my house I’d more than likely be doing the same thing. However, my husband would be sitting in the living room, having a beer with Jesus and just chatting away. He wouldn't think twice about the way the house looks, or getting supper ready or any of that. I know this because every time we have company over that is exactly what happens. Sometimes, I’m resentful, just like Martha, because I have all these things to do and I feel like I’m the only one who a) does them and b) cares about doing them. But I’m slowly learning that as I’m cooking and cleaning and generally just being a perfectionist about everything, life is still happening around me. From household duties, to parish responsibilities, to personal preferences, these things are eating up time that could be better spent with my family and with God.
I’m not saying give up on cooking and cleaning, but I am saying that maybe the house doesn't ALWAYS need to be spotless. My mom used to clean once a day when we were little, if you came by before or after that, more than likely the house was a mess again. Maybe the things I do for others can be well done, but they don’t need to be PERFECT. I don’t want to be that mom who is absent from her kids lives because she is too busy keeping house. When my kids are making a mess I want to be there with them helping them make it.
I think that as women, we need to balance what society tells us our house should look like and what our heart/ our Bible tells us. My priorities should be God and people –centered, not materialistically centered. So what if someone comes by and my floors are not swept, or the dishes aren’t done? Instead of racing around and ignoring my guest, I should be spending time with them. Or instead of doing laundry late at night, I could be spending that time in prayer.
I know I’ll never completely be a Mary, and I have to work hard every day to stop myself from being a total Martha. I think that finding a balance between them is really is key. Like Martha, I’ll keep my house relatively clean, worry when I need to, and take care of my family, but like Mary, I’ll know what’s important in life and not let the little things take precedence over God and my family. And when I fall off center, I know God will bring me right back by reminding me of the story of Mary and Martha.