Monday, December 31, 2012

In a Sea of Martha's

The past holiday season reminded me of that story in the Bible in Luke 10:38-42. Jesus goes into the home of Martha and Mary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to listen to what He had to say. Martha was distracted in the preparations for Jesus' visit. Martha goes to Jesus and asks Him to admonish Mary and tell her to help Martha. But Jesus tells Martha that she's "worried and upset about many things" when only one thing matters, and that's what Mary chose. Mary chose the better thing and it won't be taken away from her.

I like the light shed by Matthew Henry's commentary on this passage. What Martha did was good, but what Mary did was better. Martha welcomed Jesus into her  home during a time when it was perilous to be associated with Jesus and in a place close to Jerusalem, where a lot of the troubles with Jesus was brewing. But Martha didn't care. She welcomed Him anyway, sacrificing her reputation, risking her freedom, and even using up her own money for His visit. As Matthew Henry pointed out, welcoming Jesus into your home didn't come cheap because Jesus had an entourage. You had to feed and accommodate Jesus and the disciples that came with Him.

I think I understand Martha a little better. She was a hostess and a nurturer. She expressed her love through doing things for others. The problem was she got carried away. She became "worried and upset" about the many preparations that had to be done. Like everything else in life, Martha's preparations were good until they got in the way of her relationship with Jesus. When they distracted her from spending time with God, they became a hindrance. That's why Mary chose the better thing. She didn't let anything get in the way of her spending time with Jesus. She sat at His feet, in rapt attention, absorbing all He had to say.

I am a homebody. I love home decorating and cooking (not so much the cleaning). I've got a some of Martha and Martha Stewart in me. But I'm also a lot like Mary...not that I always know and choose the better thing. But when I see Mary, I see an introverted woman. She doesn't say much, but she observes a lot. And she's got a Martha that wants her to be a busybody too. That's why I felt a bit like I'm in a sea full of Martha's. When I was about to just sit and enjoy the spirit of Christmas, there was a Martha telling me to do this, do that, and become a busybody, running around doing so many things including missing out on just enjoying this time. With a new year almost upon us, we need to stop letting the busyness of life get in the way of what's important.

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