- Luke 10:38-42 - the account of Mary and Martha
I get Martha. I really do.
Things need get done. That can't be argued with. And I am a mission-minded man. I have a list of tasks; I a have a job to do. Please move out of my way people, this is God's work ... but wait. Who am I doing this for? Why am I in such a rush? Am I pushing aside the very people that I'm doing the task for? Wait. This is insane. Am I putting the mission above the reason for the mission? It's a good question; one that needs to be asked.
In the account of Mary and Martha, we see Mary at the feet of Jesus, soaking Him up. We see Martha, distracted. Distracted with all her preparations. She started out right. Remember, she was the one who invited Jesus into her house in the first place. She was hospitable. But after that, her focus changed. The distractions of preparation took precedence over the beauty of Jesus' words. I often fall into the same trap.
I pass a person in the hallway at work. Flying past them I strain my head and give a smile and a quick, "Hello, how are you." Why don't I stop and take the extra thirty seconds or so to engage them, to show them that they are worth more than a shout over my shoulder?
What would have happened if Mary had put her preparations on hold and sat with Jesus? Follow this thought through to the end. Would her guests have starved? Maybe they would of thought she was a bad host! Maybe she would have failed to measure up to expectations. Really, what is the worst thing that could have happened? I doubt Jesus would have required her to spend the entire day sitting at His feet while everyone's needs were neglected.
Maybe all she needed to do was settle. Settle and spend a few minutes, maybe more, sitting at the Lord's feet and soaking Him up. I bet her hospitality would have shown itself with a bigger smile and tastier food if she had done so. And maybe she did. We don't know what Martha did after the Lord spoke to her. Maybe she set her towel down, let out a sigh of relief, and took her place at Jesus' feet with her sister. Maybe so.
I really do get Martha. I see a little bit (maybe more) of her in me. But I also know this, the times that I have stopped, settled, and soaked Him up have produced a far more productive day than when I've ignored Him and jumped right into the task at hand. The times that I have chosen the good part, the good portion, I have found the strength, the right attitude, and wisdom to tackle "what needs to be done."
I'm writing this blog entry while waiting for my wife to get ready for our weekend away. (It's our twenty third anniversary). I'm ready. She's still getting ready. The mission is before me - get out of the house in a reasonable amount of time. But my wife's heart is also before me - love me, and don't pressure me to rush. OK. What's more important? I'm packed, that's done. She's still packing. This weekend is for us. It's about us, our hearts, not about getting out of the house in time and avoiding traffic or making sure we time it right so that we are at our destination in time for lunch.
It's never been about the mission. And it's still not about the mission. The mission, the task, what needs to be done, has always been about the person. So, how about taking a few minutes right now. Breath out. Settle. What is He saying to you right now?