It is Saturday morning and very cold outside for coastal North Carolina. I woke at my usual early morning time to come down brew some coffee and welcome the day. On my counter is a flood of dishes ( really bugging me ) and Christmas tree decorations still on the wing back chair in the ” parlor or as my son in law says the ” pink” room. I am waiting for the coffee to finish and so with forced discipline walk to the utility room and put in a load of clothes.
Now.. an argument begins in my head.. the dishes are waiting.. almost it seems having their own communication to me. But no ( don’t worry I am not really hearing them) it’s only my own pressure to go ahead and as I refer to it
“unload/reload”. But alas an valid excuse not to pops in my head. It will cause rattling and banging and wake my husband Tony blissfully upstairs asleep. Oh good .. I have a reason not to be an “immediate” Martha.
What has happened to us, the women of the American life? We have become conditioned creatures of the ” do” . Don’t we all love to come into a house that has everything picked up, clean counter tops, fresh flowers all about ( at least summertime when these are free in the garden ).
As I have drifted forward in life my desire to be a “Mary” in Martha world is picking up momentum. Working in a very busy ministry that is like a bible story everyday as events seem, and aging to the number of the speed limit. Don’t you want to know what one? smile .. I feel some internal and spiritual draw to prioritize everything.
How do I sort out what will be the best choices when there is so very much to do. At work this is much easier for me. I pick the things that matter the most to being done for the overall good of the ministry regardless of what I might have planned. Oh I am not so saintly it is just proven to be the wisest thing to do when so many things demand my “immediate ” attention. So being able to go with the flow.. has kept me from frankly going over the edge on the stress meter.
Not sure who runs that meter but it definitely has a some sort of regulator that applies penalties when the stress goes over the limit. That might be the enemy of our souls who is the worst type of traffic cop and monitors relentlessly for when “Mary ” has become too Martha and ya run out of deposits. No grace there..
The goal is not to let the stress meter have any room for running out of coins. For me the coins are prayer deposits, encouragement tokens, and a parking pass already stamped in the daily Word of God. I am also in 2010 going to get back to a longtime ago habit of daily exercise. Oh goodness, I have dared put that in writing.
Here I fail very miserably at being a Mary. Taking better care of myself. The desire to be a Proverbs 31 wife, mother , friend etc. can compete hardily with taking the time to read a book, soak in a long bath, walk in the neighborhood when daily household task of dishes, vacuuming, fluffing the home, and grocery shopping beckon.
You see I want to drink my coffee, see my family and those grandchildren and watch the birds take off and land at the bird feeder outside the porch and one at the kitchen sink window. I also want a home that looks like I used to be able to seemingly easily keep it ( when younger and yes even with little ones ) and also feel like I have unplugged. This is much of the essence of the female conflict for Christian ladies as well as secular..
Add to this the continual availability through technology by cell and email.. well WOW it is the fodder for feeling “conflicted” or is it?
So I go to the source of all sources the Bible to see what it says about all of this. It is our playbook for life so the answer has to be there.
This is what I found..
Luke Chapter 10 ( Kings James Version )
Mary and Martha Worship and Serve
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’ 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 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.”
Here Jesus is clearly saying that Mary has chosen well by picking “that good part” which will not be taken from her.
I have been pondering this this morning. Not only did she choose spending time with Jesus but it will not be taken from her.
My view of this passage is that by choosing the “good part” time with Jesus both in relationship and hearing His word.. it will sustain her. Not too be taken away. Beats the stress meter, hands down because Jesus said so.
Then wanting to see where Martha fits in.. I went to Proverbs 31 ( NKJV) and oh my take a read…
The Virtuous Wife
10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
15 She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
20 She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
22 She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
27 She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “ Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.
Enlightening these verses where in my view Mary and Martha merge…
I have highlighted in bold the verses that literally jumped out at me.
- She is an early riser preparing for the day feeding her household
- She girds herself with strength ( I believe the strength here is time with Him and then building up her arms “exercise” ) Oh yikes my new mission cause the body is the “temple ” comes to mind and yeah it’s here.
- Her lamp does not go out by night.. I see this as not only working a long day but radiating His light again her thoughts on Him )
- She reaches out to the downtrodden on the “ministry trail” of daily life as she looks for opportunities
- She make a tapestry for herself.. she takes the time to look good and takes care of being well presented ( oh relief on that one ) who knew?
- She opens her mouth with kindness .. taking the time not to take her family for granted in words and deeds. ( Got to work more on that one I think the ” love dare applies here “) see link to it on my blog roll.
- By doing these things her family relationships are strong…
It is a balancing act this Mary/ Martha blend.. and for today I will seek to find more Mary to counteract my Martha.
Right now I am sitting with my spouse having coffee and a awesome BLT which yes I rose up and made when I heard his footsteps on the stairs…
For now a mix I am enjoying so much. Oh Lord help me to learn to continue to balance in your wisdom…