The Martha and Mary story has always fascinated me. It really caught my attention as I became a wife and mother. I feel so many days like a burdened Martha as I call out to God wondering why it is ME that has to do everything. Where is everyone else who should be helping me? I feel that way at times with committees at Church. I feel that way at work. And I ESPECIALLY feel that way at home! Today would be a good example. I just bought a 3rd car for our family to help with transportation issues with 4 drivers and 7 schedules to keep up. So, this morning, I had to do the requisite trips to the Driver License facility to register the car, transfer plates, renew the sticker, pay the tax etc. I also had several other stops to make including insurance company, service shop, and hair salon for haircuts for 3 of our crew. When I finally made it home after all of the running around, I was hot, hungry and tired. NOT a good combination for this momma!
When I walked into the main living area, I found crumbs, dishes, food, bags/wrappers and so much more all over EVERY single kitchen counter. Now, the kids had already eaten their lunch. We have a meal chore chart. I was ready to ‘forgive’ the mess if it was the youngest on cleanup duty that day, but no. It was one of the older girls. *sigh* So, I had to ‘remind’ her of what she is supposed to be doing and then supervise her doing the job correctly. Again. It wouldn’t bother me so much but this is one of the older girls who has a job and knows what should be done. But, since I wasn’t here — none of that was ‘remembered’. At home, if I am not around, nothing gets done. They all seem to be blind to the messes and it drives this mom nuts!
So, what am I supposed to be learning in this Martha and Mary story that I just am not getting?? I would love to be Mary, but instead I just don’t have the time for it with all of my Martha tasks.
Well, this morning, a new thought on this story struck me. What are they each actually doing? Martha is running around, getting food and helping to make sure that Jesus is comfortable and all of his needs are met. Yep — that seems to be me most days… Mary on the other hand, is just sitting around doing…… hmmm, what IS she doing? She is listening!
If Jesus is telling Martha that Mary is the one doing it right, what is he saying? He is saying that it is more important to Him if we take the time to listen. Listening is a forgotten skill in this highly technical world we now live in. Listening is a gift. When someone listens to you, you feel validated, loved and cared for. It is the ULTIMATE way of meeting a person’s needs.
So, I ask myself again — who am I? Mary or Martha and which do I ‘want’ to be? Someone who meets the physical, external needs of our bodies? Or someone who fulfills that deep inner need we all have to be listened to and actually heard? As a wife and mother — and follower of Christ — I pray that all I know and love see me more as Mary than Martha. I know that isn’t the case many days. But, hopefully, over time…