Friday, November 16, 2012
The Mary Martha Drama
I am sure this is a busy time of year for most of you. I have missed blogging lately, and keep telling myself that I need to do better. The truth is my blog is my greatest platform at this point. Sometimes it seems to me, that God is teaching me so many lessons about life that I can't seem to put it into words. Plus, it seems there is a time and a place for something to be shared, and I don't want to do so too prematurely.
Do you by chance, know the story of Mary and Martha? If not, you can find it in Luke 10:38 – 42. Can't you just see it in your mind? There are two sisters, one's name is Mary and the other is named Martha. Martha welcomes Jesus into her home, while her sister Mary was there also. It wasn't as if Martha completely ignored Jesus she welcomed him. Scripture says that Martha was busy and distracted trying to serve her honored guest. It doesn't say that she was rude or that her intentions were not good. It is my perception, that where Martha's troubles, come in is when she begins to become frustrated with her own role, and expects her sister Mary to follow her lead. Instead Mary remained listening to Jesus. Sometimes I'm willing to bet in moments of pride we tend to think that this somehow makes Mary the more spiritual of the two. As I thought about the story, I am more convinced than ever, that if we approach the story this way, we are not only wrong, but have missed what Jesus was telling us entirely. I've heard this story told many different ways. I even know that there is a book, which I haven't read about how to have a Mary heart in a Martha world. I'm sure it's a great book, but recently I wonder if I and others have not missed the central point Jesus was making. Here's what I mean, the situation could have easily been reversed. What if Mary had asked Jesus to scold Martha to stop serving and command her to listen like she was? I think Jesus would have lovingly chosen to correct Mary the same way he did Martha. Here's a prime example: my mom is gifted with the personality of Martha. She is the Queen of Multitasking. The faster she moves, and the more she accomplishes the more fulfilled she seems. This is understandable given her life experiences, and how God has created her. She gets things done, and she makes things beautiful. Sometimes it's like we are going in opposite directions, because I have never moved at a pace. I have a one track mind, and fully focus on one thing at a time. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself for not being more like her, and then other times I am guilty of not appreciating the special and unique gifts that God has given to her, and trying to get her to slow down, because that makes Me feel at ease. When I was in college, I tried very hard to be a Martha but in my heart I've always been more relational than task driven. The lesson the Lord brought to my mind recently was is when we try to be something that we are not, or expect others to be something different than what God has created them to be, this is when people hurt each other. Most importantly we miss fulfilling God's individual purpose for our lives. Most of us probably fall in-between Martha and Mary, but we must be careful that we do not try to conform those around us into something that God never intended. There is enough room in God's kingdom for all types of personalities. It is not my job, or the job of God's children to impose balance or conviction on fellow Christians. It is hard enough, to find balance in the Christian life, for ourselves much less someone else. I don't believe that Jesus was telling Martha she was wrong to want to serve him or that Mary was wrong to continue clinging to his every word. Both of these roles are needed equally. In other words, what you choose to do to honor me is between you and me, but you are not to concern yourself or cast judgment on another one of my children, for the way in which they choose to serve me or relate to me!
I will invite you on this journey with me.… If you are Martha trying to relate to Mary, let's look for ways to see Jesus in each other. Surrender the expectation to conform each others roles. If you are Mary trying to relate to Martha, extend your hand, and stay humble!