Becoming Mary in Martha’s World

sunday brunch hospitality

At first glance, I would consider myself a fairly balanced person. I try to make time for my family, my friends, myself. I exercise regularly, enjoy my job, eat well and determine to learn or create something new each day. Sometimes I look around me and see those whose schedules are jam-packed, never seeming to get a break – whether they wanted to or not. As a culture, I believe we’ve come to wear busyness as a badge. Somehow as if the busier we are, the higher the quality of our life.

I’ve found myself comparing these stories to what I believe is my own, thinking, “I’m so glad my life doesn’t look like such chaos!”

Yet recently when hosting some friends unexpectedly, I found myself in a frantic disarray – even after our guests had arrived. I wasn’t enjoying their company, by any means, just scuttling about trying to tidy this and finish that. Now I wouldn’t say I was necessarily proud of my busy state, but I was adding priority to things that did not deserve that level of my focus.

When my sweet husband approached me and quietly asked if there was anything he could do, humility overcame me as I was reminded of the hospitality of Mary and Martha.

You may be familiar with the story. Jesus and his disciples were traveling through town when Martha opened up her home to host them. She held a reputation for hospitality and this was a very generous gesture, as it was a particularly large group to entertain.  As Martha busied herself with all the preparations, her sister, Mary, sat at Jesus’ feet clinging to his every word. When Martha realized her sister was not helping with the details of the dinner, she approached Jesus out of frustration 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 was Martha.

Though there is nothing wrong with wanting the food you cook to be a mouth watering work a art and your house to be immaculate, the dilemma arises when those things take priority over relationships…because before you know it, the Lesser Things find a foothold to achieve victory over you.

I can be Mary.

Not long ago I was challenged to write the story of my life from the perspective of 5 years in the future. In that reflection, I described our future home as “a cozy, safe, and welcoming place – the gathering spot for our family, friends, and friends-to-be.”  It was a powerful moment to compare my future dream to my current reality. But it also gave me hope that the way I was wasn’t the way I had to be. Over the last few weeks, I have been reaching out to God for help becoming more flexible and learning to show myself grace when things do not go quite as I would hope. He has provided opportunities quite generously but I am thankful for new challenges that help me become more like his loving, patient Son.

Advertisements