Once upon a time two women did the same things in life, but they did them very differently with an approach that suited them. Most of the time. One was thought to be the practical one always taking care of what needed to be done and unable to sit still. One was thought to be the spiritual one, moving at a different pace with peace in her heart and her head in the clouds.
But, recorded in scriptures we see that both Martha and Mary were serving and sitting at the feet of Jesus. Both had unique spiritual gifts coursing through their veins. But, the comparison trap was real, even then without a whole lot to measure their differences by. All they needed is one other woman to compare themselves with.
Frustration levels grew as one woman pulled back to drink in the gift of her guest. This grown woman bent low to find herself curled up and childlike sitting at the feet of her Jesus. And, maybe for the first time, she felt like she fit and was enough.
Mary was far from lazy, she was hungry for something that her hard-working hands couldn’t place on the table. Perhaps as she served she glanced over at her sister and said, “Martha can do this so much better than me. I’m in the way.”
I wonder if Martha would retrace Mary’s work and “correct” it like I’ve done when my daughters fold laundry.
Martha’s intentions were honorable, who wouldn’t feel the need to make things perfect for their Savior?
Isn’t that what we are all trying to do right now? Hoping that somehow what we bring to the table is more than enough, just slightly less than perfect, but close enough that we feel like we matter on a deeper level.
Her heart to serve became a distracted, exhausted heart that looked around at her younger sister and said, “You should be doing more.”
Honorable intentions turned critical, her natural default was to try harder and do the work of two.
But, I have a feeling doing more made Mary and Martha feel emptied out and depleted. Clearly, Martha didn’t need her help anymore. As her sister became more consumed with details, Mary slipped out into the room that held what her heart needed. She found her place sitting next to a dirty-feet redemption that always went out-of-the-way to serve and save others.
I wonder if all Mary’s life she wanted to be just like her sister, but always fell short, but on that day she found another person that she wanted to be just like…Jesus.
To be like Jesus, she needed to be with Jesus.
I have been a different kind of tired lately. Not from my home life or even the ministry that I do in my church, but from all the extras and saying yes when glancing at my schedule and looking at my filled up, overly busy calendar says no.
I have said yes to many things lately with such honorable intentions, but in so many ways I have become distracted with much serving and frustrated because the things that fill up my soul appear, in comparison to perfect Martha’s, as a lazy Mary not doing enough.
In this passage of scripture, being hardwired like Martha or Mary is not the point. The point is balance with service and personal devotion to Christ.
One is not better than the other, or more important, both are vital and so needed in this world we live in. But, if you are distracted, empty, pointing fingers and thinking everyone should do things just like you…you might be missing the point and out of balance.
I am out of balance. True story. I am not at all wired to be like Martha, I have different gifts inside of me and amazing Martha’s I get to partner with in life. I need them to be who God created them to be and respect them when their service looks differently than mine and packaged better. Just because I admire her, doesn’t mean I’m supposed to be like her.
Yesterday, a dear friend of mine said, “That Mary heart inside of you will never die.”
But, the Mary heart inside of me has been so tired lately…
Maybe that’s what I needed; to be reminded to work hard without neglecting the time my soul needs to actually “be” with him.
Serve the way God intended you to serve. Don’t compare or think what you have to offer is less, or point fingers and tell someone that they are not doing enough. Listen to your frustration when you are out of balance. And stop being so hard on yourself.
So much love to you, sister.
Take a nap. Binge-watch some TV with your people. Take some time for rest and spending time with Jesus over productivity this weekend.
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’[a] feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus[b] answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10: 38-42)