He knows how to be still.
My husband has an inner peace that I envy. When he sits down to rock her, he's usually asleep before she is. He doesn't worry. He doesn't fret. That is a completely foreign concept to me. I come from a long line of worriers. When I sit down to rock her, it's usually with a device in my hand so that I can get some things done while I'm sitting there. In my head, I'm working on at least 1 list, a spreadsheet, songs for Sunday, the laundry I need to get folded, and, of course, world peace.
Even when I'm sitting still, I'm not being still.
Personally, I feel that Martha has always gotten a bad rap. She invites Jesus to her home. She's trying to get dinner ready for him. Her sister is sitting around not helping. But, Martha is the one who ends up looking bad. How does that happen?
Well, let's do some reading between the lines.
Since it says that Martha opened her home, but there's no mention of her husband, she's more than likely a widow. Mary may live with her. We don't know for sure, but it would not have been unusual for the culture of the time. What we do know is how sisters are. Whether or not Mary lived there, Martha would expect some help in the kitchen, especially for such an honored guest. Big sisters do not like being stuck with all the work.
Instead of knowing her place as a woman and going to make Jesus a sandwich, Mary chose to sit with Him and hang on His every word. She wasn't sitting beside Him, which would have been a place of honor and might have indicated that she was flirting. Luke records that she sat at his feet. This is a posture of humility. This is where you find disciples. This is a place of learning.
This would have been an unheard of place for a woman at that time.
In Jesus' time in the Jewish culture, women were not taught the law or included in spiritual matters. The rabbis of the time would have been horrified to find Jesus teaching a woman and encouraging her to listen and learn.
But, He did.
Not only did he accept that she wanted to learn, He rebuked Martha for suggesting that she should do anything else. I can almost hear Him say, "Martha, would you stop fussing and sit down with us? You don't need to cook all that food. We could just have a sandwich. I came to spend time with YOU."
Hospitality is a great ministry, until the work gets in the way of The Work. Church administration is very necessary, until you can't look up from the spreadsheets long enough to see the congregation or the visitors or the people who need to know God. Preaching is important, but if you can't hear what He's saying to you, you might need to turn the mic down.
Too many times, I get caught up in all of the things on the to do list. Do they need done? Absolutely. Do they need done right this second? Probably not. Is the world going to end if I don't personally see to it? It feels like it because I'm a control freak, but no, it won't. So, the question becomes, am I doing the work as an act of worship or am I worshiping the to do list?
That one hurt a little just to type it.
By concentrating on all the work that needs to be done, what I'm really saying is, "Lord, you are important enough to invite over to my house, but I don't trust you enough to get this stuff done. I have to take care of it." He can get more done in the blink of an eye than we can in an entire lifetime. Why do we feel like we can't trust Him enough to sit down with Him for just a little while?
Father, forgive me for every time that I've put the work and the to-do list before my time with you. Sitting at your feet is sacred time that enables me to do what I could never do otherwise. Please help me remember that if I don't put in the Mary time, all the Martha work in the world won't get anything done. Amen.