Facebook reminded me just yesterday that I had written a post about Mary on December 7, 2013. Hmmm…could it have anything to do with this time of year? I think it just might! I bring her story to you again, but with a little different perspective in 2017.
Just a little background information for anyone not familiar with the story—Jesus came to see Mary and Martha at their house. It was a big deal! Martha got all caught up in the preparations—cooking, cleaning, etc., only to find her sister Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus taking in His every word. Martha was a little miffed with Mary’s lack of help and brought it to Jesus’ attention…
“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 10:41-42 NIV
Are you more like Mary or Martha? Chime in by leaving a comment below if you don’t mind. I would estimate that I’m about 90% Martha and 10% Mary. That’s not something for which I’m proud. My imbalance tends to rear its ugly head most in December. I am a taskmaster. Though I generally don’t have a written “to do” list, I can assure you that when my feet hit the ground in the morning, I have a pretty good idea of what I hope to accomplish that day. It brings me great pleasure to check things off, even if only in my head! The combination of introvert and taskmaster only magnifies the Martha in me.
It takes a concerted effort on my part to turn off Martha and reach for my inner Mary. There have been countless times that I have gotten caught up in my own agenda and failed to do what was better all because I was more concerned about checking something off my list. Those times I actually get it right tend to stand out. There were three such occasions in the past week and God blessed me incredibly for choosing people over tasks. I came away with a joy-filled heart that energized me to complete my tasks!!
When questioned by a Pharisee about the greatest commandment—-
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39 NLT
It seems loving others trumps getting things done. Does that verse cause you to take a closer look at your priorities? It does me. There are plenty of things to do that are good, important, and even necessary. In fact, completing many of those tasks is a demonstration of love for those God has put before us. Let’s not be too hard on Martha. Her preparations were an expression of love for Jesus too. BUT, Jesus says Mary chose what was better.
Let’s commit to filtering our “to do” lists through the great commandment so that loving others well is a recurring theme. May we each follow Mary’s example and choose that which is better.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go and revise my list….