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I had a party the other night. There were cherished friends and family, good food, and lots of laughter. Great music and conversation filled my home.
And if you know me, you know entertaining guests is my thing – my gift – but that night was different. It wasn’t as effortless or as joyful. Instead it was laborious, stressful and honestly, I wanted it to end early.
You see, I was distracted.
Distracted by a little insect problem that was plaguing my home. Yep, you read that right, I have some new little creepy-crawlies who have suddenly decided my house is the hottest place on the block. Now mind you, it’s not like my house is infested, but for me, even one bug is too many.
A little side note here…Actually sharing that I have a bug problem is a huge victory for me. Me, who always wants everything to be perfect, but allowed God to show me perfection is not happening this side of heaven.
Now back to my story…
As the party was in full swing, I dashed around cleaning up everything in sight. The trash was taken out multiple times, every serving dish had a cover on it, and I was washing dishes as soon as they ended up in the sink.
I lurked around every plate-holding guest waiting for the moment when I could swoop in and escort their plate back to the kitchen.
I possibly snatched a few plates a bit prematurely, but I was on a mission.
Secretly, I was on high alert for any creepy-crawlies that might want to crash the party.
After my last guest crossed the threshold, I gave a sigh of relief, finished up the last of the cleaning and fell into bed.
The next morning as I poured out my grateful heart to God for the gift of friends, He brought up Mary and Martha.
You know the story (Luke 10:38-42)…
Jesus is having a lovely dinner at the home of Mary and Martha. Mary is sitting at Jesus’s feet – literally. In total awe, she hangs on His every word; soaking up as much of his wisdom and goodness as she could.
Meanwhile, her sister Martha, the little perfectionist hostess-with-the-mostest, was busy with the cooking, and the serving, and probably the cleaning, too. It was the Feast of the Tabernacles so let’s assume this was not your average meatloaf kind of night. Oh and let’s not forget Jesus never travels alone, so yeah, this was a full-on party.
Well, as you can imagine, this got under Martha’s skin a little. Actually, a lot. She was miffed that she was carrying the entertainment burden by herself while her sister just sat around enjoying their guest of honor.
So, bold and busy Martha finally speaks up and asks Jesus to tell Mary to get in the kitchen and help her out!
But Jesus, ever so gently, points out that at that moment, Mary had chosen what was better.
I’m sure that stung Martha’s spirit a bit, and it hit home for me as well.
I wasn’t enjoying my guests that night as I usually do. Instead, I was having a Martha moment. And my Martha moment robbed me of my Mary moment.
That night, was a Mary moment opportunity for me. A time to enjoy my guests. To sit at their feet and listen to their stories, their laughter, and their hearts. To savor my home filled to the brim with people I love dearly and joyously sharing God’s provision in my life.
I’m sure if we think about it we can all identify some Martha moments that are stealing our Mary moments. And it doesn’t always happen only during special times, like a party. As I reflected on this, I was able to identify Mary moment theft in my daily life.
Pushing my Martha moments aside and choosing to pursue my Mary moments had to be intentional.
SIX EASY WAYS THAT WILL FREE THE MARY YOU
Set a timer for things that have to get done so you can stay focused, finish your task, and not drift onto another task.
Choose to text some friends an encouraging word instead of scrolling mindlessly through social media.
Sit down with your husband and/or children for a moment instead of talking to them while you’re cooking dinner or doing dishes.
Slow down at the check-out counter and really notice the cashier and other people held captive in the line with you who might need your smile.
Don’t just talk to your kids about chores and homework – ask them about their world, their friends, and their heart.
Sit with your elderly parents with enthusiasm and smiles as you listen to them excitedly tell you a story you’ve heard a thousand times before.
Yes, things have to get done, I know. And at my core, I’m a doer – a Martha kind of girl. But I’m learning that some Martha moments can wait. And if I don’t intentionally seek out the Mary moments, the Martha in me may snatch them out of my hand.
Whether we relate more to Martha or Mary, let’s remember both were beloved daughters of a good Father.
It was Martha who invited Jesus into her home.
It was Martha who served Jesus with her gift of hospitality.
And it was Martha who knew it was safe to boldly bring her troubles to Jesus.
Yes, Martha was no less loved and adored by Jesus. He gently called her name twice that night, as if to say…
Martha, Martha, my sweet and beloved child, come sit with me a while and let the dishes wait.
What a great message He has for us in this passage. A message about priorities and pausing so we can recognize and sit at the feet of the Mary moments of life.
Oh, and update on the creepy-crawlies…they’re gone – I won!
Ponder and Practice
What Martha moments, or Martha choices, are denying the Mary in you? What is the one change you can make today that will free the Mary in you?
A Truth: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:41-42
A Song: Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship
A Read: Made Like Martha: Good News for the Woman Who Gets Things Done by Katie Reid and Lisa-Jo Baker
A Prayer: Thank you for the message of Martha and Mary. Help us to quiet the tasks of life and listen for the treasures. Assure us that we are fully loved, fully cherished. And fully yours! In Jesus’ name, Amen.