Changing sheets, mopping floors, cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, scrubbing toilets, wiping wall, washing clothes, dusting ceiling fans, and spraying disinfectant. Each passing day it seems my daily list of chores grows rather than shrinks. At times I can let it go while other days I crave nothing more than a clean house. It has been one of those times where I’m striving to achieve perfection, and have been running from room-to-room picking up toys and prepping for a deep clean. Finally, my exasperated husband said,
You are acting Martha-ish.
Instantly I shot him a glare and snapped, “Who else is going to change the sheets?” But as I reflected on his words, the story of Mary and Martha came to mind.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:38-42
- Martha opened her home to Jesus ~ By having a family, I unlocked my home to them.
- She became distracted ~ I often feel that way.
- She felt alone in her quest and desired the help of her family ~ Same here.
- Martha missed the one thing she needed ~I miss it more often than I care to admit.
I realize Martha was in a situation where housework came before spending time with the Savior, but if I’m not careful, I can be that way with the Lord and my family. Chores, to-do lists, goals, and activities quickly replace the few things that are necessary.
As a wife, I would rather be like Mary, choosing what is better.
It is best to sit with Jesus, not hustling and bustling around the house. Enjoying time with my husband without pouting under the dark cloud of everything I need to accomplish is a good thing. Sometimes I feel that if I could have one day to do everything on my list, I would be much more present with my family the other days of the week, but the truth is, the work will never, ever be complete. There will always be more which means it comes down to my choices.
Will I shelve my plans to dust or will my family only see me as I rush in and out of the rooms?
Does having a busy schedule take precedence over quality time with those I love?
On paper it sounds so easy to choose what is better. I used to think I was more of a “Mary type,” pridefully boasting that I would spend time with Jesus over anything else. However, real life shows me that I’m much more of a Martha. What stands out to me in the Scripture passage above is that Martha initiated the gathering. Mary didn’t put her up to it, and Jesus didn’t invite himself to dinner. It was her choice to host, but then she grew upset about the work involved. Don’t we find ourselves doing the same? We take on more than we should and focus on things rather than people. Sometimes our families pay the price for existing in our world.
I’m making a change to be more like Mary, choosing what is best. Later this week I will write a follow-up post pointing to another Biblical character who experienced a holy moment after putting his earthly responsibilities on hold. I look forward to sharing the second half with you soon!
Would your husband consider you more Martha-ish or Mary-ish?