Will All The Martha’s Please Stand Up?

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Now go sit down somewhere.

I’ve been guilty at times for doing the most.

More than once in my life, I have filled my to-do list with a myriad of tasks to complete, just for the sake of doing something.

Like dinner time.

I am notorious for getting up immediately after dinner and cleaning the kitchen. Sure, we may have only gotten through the first ten minutes of a Netflix show – and I’m sure it’s great! – but the skillet needs to be washed.

Or with kids.

I’m the one that attempts to tidy up after eighteen two-year-olds, fully expecting them to appreciate my hard work by quietly entertaining themselves in a corner with a book, instead of pulling out the Legos.

Why am I this way?

Well my first inclination is to say that this is the way the good Lord made me and YOU CAN’T JUDGE ME.

I realize that is not a healthy response, yet here we are.

Sure, I could stay seated a little longer and socialize after dinner. And yes, I could spend my time playing with the kids and enjoying another cup of scalding (and imaginary) tea.

But the dishes need to be washed. Better to do it now, while I’ve got the energy.

The floor needs to be swept. Those cheerios will become a second snack if I don’t get to them right away.

The kitchen needs to be cleaned. The toy blocks need to be put away.

Could all of these things wait? Sure.

But now seems as good a time as any.

I’m a Martha.

And Martha is me.

When I first read the story of the two sisters, I was #TeamMartha.

I can just see her now, slaving away in the kitchen.

Picture it! Bethany, AD 28 (29? 30? Doesn’t matter.)

Martha’s stirring the matzo ball soup with one hand, making sure it’s seasoned with the salt of the earth. She’s keeping her eyes on the potato latkes because she slightly burned them the last time. The fish is frying in the kitchen, the beans are on the grill and she’s just put the finishing touches on the fig pie.

She’s got flour on her forehead, food on her apron and has burned herself five times. She’s a hot mess.

But she knows how to host a dinner party and makes the best matzo ball soup this side of the Jordan River.

So while she’s doing all of this, preparing to host the most important guest that will ever step foot in her home, where is her sister Mary?

Well I can tell you where’s she not.

Many hands make light work, Mary.

That’s how I felt when I got to that part in the story.

I mean, surely, Mary could have pitched in.

She could have taken over the latkes (she remembers the last time), gone around and taken drink orders, set the table — something.

So when Martha brought this to the attention of Jesus, she fully expected that He would take her side.

But we know that’s not how the story goes.

Choose what is better.

My Martha-ness gets it. Perhaps a little too well.

Too often, I’ve allowed myself to be so bogged down with what I deem is “so important,” that I miss out on the good stuff. The truly meaningful things in life.

Just like Martha. Scripture says that she was “distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” (Luke 10:40) She wanted everything to be perfect for the One they called Savior.

But in the midst of preparations, she completely overlooked what was literally right in front of her. The One truly meaningful thing in life.

Jesus was in her living room. But the latkes.

It’s okay to be a Martha.

While Jesus’ rebuke of Martha was likely not her finest hour, I think it’s important to note something.

It’s okay to be a Martha.

She’s just like you and me.

From what little we know about her in the Scriptures, we know that Martha had a servant heart, she loved her family deeply and was herself, loved by Jesus.

She just had to realize, as a lot of us do, the importance of choosing what’s better.

There’s a time for us to work and serve and love.

And there’s a time for us to sit at the feet of Jesus, give thanks and rest.

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