"As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'"
I am three weeks into my crazy Fall schedule. I have more meetings, more cooking, more groups I am leading, more laundry, more kids, and more responsibility than I can really handle.
My clean laundry pile looks like this:
The dirty laundry pile looks about the same. The smell of garbage is emanating from the garage, and the kitchen is covered in dirty dishes that are acting as a lovely bacon-scented potpourri.
There are piles of books I need to finish reading, pages of words I need to write, and texts and phone calls that I must make pronto.
In the middle of all this, Mr. Fantastic looked at me and said, "Ten years ago, this all would have killed you. But look at you now, baby."
And he is so right. Look at me now.
Like Mary, I have found something that can't be taken away from me. I have found my Savior in the middle of all these details. My heart is set on Him.
Sure, I'm living in Martha's world. Like most women I have a list like Martha's, of tasks and chores that are non-negotiable and must be done.
I resent the way this story is made into some sort of knock on Martha. Martha was hosting Jesus, serving God, and that is no small thing.
Women struggle with comparing themselves to one another. We look one another in the eye and say we won't do it anymore. But then we do it to Martha and Mary; we compare their choices and judge their hearts.
Then we let that judgement fall on ourselves, too. "Don't be a Martha," we say to ourselves. But when the baby wakes up at 4:00 am with a fever, the washing machine breaks, and your husband has to work late, what is a woman to do? We fail at this Mary business and jump on the Martha train- as if you have to choose to be one or the other.
But Jesus didn't really compare them. He didn't say Martha shouldn't be cooking and cleaning at all. Jesus simply said that in the midst of all the details, the thing that should concern us most- loving God- is precious, and will never be taken away from us.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, a clean house becomes a dirty house, but the love lasts forever.
Hold tight to God's love when the craziness piles high and the details seem overwhelming. Memorize His words. Tell yourself the story of all He has done for you until you can feel the wonder of His love in the deepest parts of your soul.
God is right in the middle of the mess with you, loving you, dwelling with you, meeting you with grace and mercy and strength and power.
Be a Mary in a Martha world, and find a love and a joy that can never be taken away. And just look at you now....