Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Better Part

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary [who] sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:38-42
I hear about the story of Martha and Mary at least a few times each year and it is usually along the line about how both contemplation and activity are important and some are called to one more than another but we all need to take time to contemplate, etc. 

But something occurred to me that I'd never thought of before. When Martha complained of Mary not helping her, we never hear what Mary thought. Since the Lord jumps to Mary's defense, we never hear that Mary thought, "Sorry, Martha, but since God is sitting in my living room, I think I should be listening to Him right now." Maybe Mary wasn't so sure. Maybe Mary became unsure of herself and maybe she even felt guilty for letting her sister take care of all the hospitality work. Maybe she thought, "Oh, yeah I hadn't thought about everything that needs to be done. Maybe I should be doing more. Maybe I don't do enough."

It seems to me like most people think of themselves as Martha, busy with life and wishing they had more Mary time. But, if Mary was drawn to listen to Jesus only to be reminded by cooking, reprimanded by dirty dishes and guilted by dust, maybe we are just as much, or perhaps even more, like Mary except when we see something we "need" to do, we don't have Jesus jumping in telling us it is okay to let it go for now. 

So, if you are lost in a serene calm watching a gentle breeze bend the spring branches or are having a sweet cuddle with short little curls and chubby little fingers or having some fun rolling on the floor with the kids, don't stop because you feel like you should be "getting something done." The dust, the dishes, the laundry, the dirt on the floor you always have with you, but those moments aren't wasted time or even free time, they are invitations to sit at the feet of our Lord and contemplate and relish His sweetness in nature, in our children, and in each other.

They are the little moments throughout our day when He invites us to sit with Him in joy. They are the better part.

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