The Good Portion

You don’t have to be in junior high to want to be someone you are not. Therefore, I will say in my outside blogging voice, I may be a Martha (not the Stewart kind either), but what I really want is to be a Mary.

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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”(Luke: 10:39-42 NIV)

Anytime I have guests, I get crazy with preparation. My family will lower their chins to their chests in big nods. I want perfection. I cook for an army. I clean like a general on a mission. Frankly, I put JW details in things that no one ever notices- except my angel mom. I stay so busy…so much so…that I don’t enjoy myself.

Martha may have felt like that, like she wasn’t appreciated. Martha was responsible. She opened her home to Jesus and then she went about the duties that were expected of women in that time period. Martha, I can only imagine, wanted to make everything perfect for Jesus. Well, I would too. He was Jesus after all.

Being a Martha often takes the good out of my gatherings, the love out of my heart.

Martha did what was the social norm in that day. She invited Jesus and his followers inside. Then Martha got busy. She went about her tasks as women did then…as some women do now. But Mary, her sister, did nothing but sat at the feet of Jesus and of all things… listened. Now Mary could have been lazy we don’t really know, but I think instead she saw an experience unfolding where she could sit at the Master’s feet and soak in his love and wisdom.

Finally, Jesus noticed Martha’s busyness (my interpretation) and pointed out (and I imagine) in a gentle and respectable voice that she was “distracted by many things”.

I hear this too in Holy Spirit whispers.

I can’t tell you how many times my Type A personality has made me miss out because I had to be busy in preparation. I get preoccupied. I get tired. I get upset when I finally realize what I am doing, and what I am missing. It must have hurt Martha’s feelings to have Jesus point out her distractions and then praise the younger sister. But He was right.

I put busyness before fun.

I put perfection before fellowship.

I put being right before relationship.

Have you ever been distracted like that?

Have you missed out on the fun because things had to be perfect?

Jesus knows we turn to busyness for various reasons: insecurity, running from something or for show. And that's just a few reasons...there are more. He knows we often work without searching our hearts for motive.

I can tell they are both good women. The clear difference between the two life styles is that sometimes we need to embrace the experience and not embrace the preparation.

My prayer for you and I for this holiday season is,

May we find wisdom in the imperfections in our lives and enjoy the moments put before us. After all, we will never receive those moments again. So, I pray that you and I will choose the good portion.

“Mary has chosen the good portion.” (Luke 10:42).

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  1. Yes, I've been there, missing out on the fun, the intimacy of the holiday, much of it lost in busy preparations. But the last few years, I've changed the way I live the holidays, eliminating much to-do from my plans, keeping our celebrations festive, but simple, and loving every moment of these times.

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful, peace-filled New Year!

  2. Joanne, And I am working on becoming that very person. It is baby steps for me. Wishing you the best of Christmas too.

  3. I'm guilty of that, I confess. I tend to be busy when I could be just enjoying myself with guests. Of course, busy, for me, entails chasing a four year old and a three year old around the house trying to keep them from tipping things off the table and tripping guests up. I'm not sure Martha had that to deal with...

    Thanks for the reminder to mellow out a bit sometimes, good lady. Merry Christmas!

  4. Simon, I know about 3 and 4 year olds.They are a pleasure. Merry Christmas to you and your family. And may we both chill a little.

  5. Yes, I too am a Martha. I get crazy nervous when I'm having guests over. Mostly because I don't keep my house spotless with a 1 and 3 year old. So when it is time to clean for company, it is quite the undertaking.

    May we all aspire to be "Mary's" this Christmas!

  6. Thanks for the reminder, we all need to enjoy this holiday season. Memories are not made by how clean our floors are, we need to talk, laugh and be with our family and friends for those special memories.

    Merry Christmas to you, JW!

  7. I've certainly been there missing lots of because i "had" to.
    Time goes so fast, i'm trying to change before is too late for me!
    Have a wonderful holiday!!

  8. CM, It's more important to enjoy those sweet babies. I will try with you to be a Mary. Merry Christmas!

    Mattenylou, Yes oh yes, we need to enjoy our families and friends and forget about the floors. Now if I can just convince myself of that. Merry Christmas to you!

    Betty, I too am trying to stop that nonsense. It's very hard for me, but I am trying. Merry Christmas!!!

  9. What a beautiful message, one we all need to heed.

    Merry Christmas, Mary.

  10. It is so easy to fall into that mode. Thank you for the reminder to be still at this busy time of year. Thank you also for stopping by my blog!

  11. Gail and Linda, It is a worthy message. Now if I will only listen to me!

    Merry Christmas!

  12. Very good messge! I pray your Christmas is relaxing and filled with promises!

  13. You too, Terri. Long time no hear. I am hoping and praying that all is well. Hope you will update us soon. Merry Christmas!

  14. So I see by the comments that I am not the only one your writing about Mary/Martha resonates with.

    I do all the things you said above.

    Hate it.

    I also hate that it pretty much builds in the fact that some day I am going to miss something precious if I dont change the behavoir....



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