It’s not either/or…it’s both/and!

I woke up early this morning, and by early, I mean EARLY! My mind was reeling still with all the things I have to do. I am hosting a party with my mom’s side of the family tonight, and I have food to get ready and lists to make. My first instinct when I got up was, “Let’s clean, organize, get to the grocery store….let’s get BUSY!” But Mary and Martha decided to pop into my head. So…here we are!

The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and came to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

I woke up early this morning, and by early, I mean EARLY! My mind was reeling still with all the things I have to do. I am hosting a party with my mom’s side of the family tonight, and I have food to get ready and lists to make. My first instinct when I got up was, “Let’s clean, organize, get to the grocery store….let’s get BUSY!” But Mary and Martha decided to pop into my head. So…here we are!

Jesus and his disciples were walking through Martha’s town, and she invited them to her home. And they accepted! So exciting! The Master and his disciples were coming to her house. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. I’m sure her mind started really moving with all the details and plans. She would have to make a menu, prep the food, clean up a bit, set the table…and she wanted to see Jesus! We need to get busy!

And she got busy all right! When she was knee deep in preparations and feeling the stress, she looked around and – no Mary! “Where’s that sister of mine? She always helps me when we have company. She is supposed to be helping me!”

She goes to find her, and what does she see? Mary – right where she wanted to be. Sitting at the feet of Jesus. Relaxing. Enjoying His presence. Listening to His teachings. Hearing all His stories. Not fair! (Have you ever been upset when someone else didn’t do what you expected them to?)

Martha entreats Jesus to help her. “Jesus. Can you tell Mary to come help me? It’s not fair she gets to be with you and I have to be in here doing all this work!”

But Jesus doesn’t push Mary into the kitchen. He tries to draw Martha to His feet. “Martha. Stop being so worried about all the details. We can wait to eat. Mary has chosen to be with Me, and I’m not going to make her leave.”

What I have always found interesting is that we don’t see how this day ended. Did Martha call the neighbors to help her in the kitchen so she could sit for a minute? Did she turn the stove off so she could spend time with Jesus? Did Mary switch places with her so Martha could have some time with Jesus too?

We don’t know how it ended, but we can walk away from this with some food for thought. Maybe it’s not about choosing between am I a Martha or am I a Mary. The truth is we need to be both. We are called to both be with Him and to serve. There are times to work and to serve, and there are times to draw away to rest and just be in His presence.

Martha got weary of the work – the work she CHOSE to do…she invited them, remember? But she got weary of the work I think partly because she didn’t have His presence, which is what she really wanted.

Sometimes we get weary of the work because we try to do it without His presence. Martha had to sit at His feet to be with Him, but He is ALWAYS with us. He is in us! The question now becomes are we aware of His presence?

We can be Mary while we are being Martha. It’s not either/or anymore….it’s both/and. We can work refreshed…we can live refreshed because we live in His presence. Let’s take a deep breath and drink in His presence today, even in the midst of what is still a busy season. Let’s enjoy that peace He came to bring!

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 Message)

1 comment on “It’s not either/or…it’s both/and!Add yours →

Leave a Reply