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It is so easy. Sometimes I don’t think we even realize when we do it.

We’ve put together a new study for adult Sunday school and we share with others the many sources we read in doing the prep work.   Or maybe the task was committing a lengthy passage of scripture to memory.  Some of us work hard at our faith and we have no qualms about letting others know just how much effort we’ve put into it.

Oddly enough, that doesn’t tend to tempt people to Christ unless they like being caught up in a competition.

Steep yourself in faith.  Reflect the light that springs from it for others to see.  That’s what we’ve been called to do.  Martha, who did the labor of putting together a meal for Christ, is just as essential as Mary, who sat at his feet to listen to him teach.  It wasn’t until she demanded pity that Christ reprimanded her.

A little something for us Martha’s to consider as we go about our busy faith lives.

–SueBE

 

 

In her last post, Lori called on all of us to seek God outside of hatred and those who harm others in His name.  She reminded us that God is with the helpers.

When someone mentions helpers, I tend to think of Martha and it’s easy to imagine Martha passing around blankets and water, making space in her home for those whose family members are in the hospital and seeing that everyone is fed.

I understand Martha which is probably why I’ve always resented the story of Martha and Mary.  Yes, I know most people say Mary and Martha but I identify with Martha. It’s always bothered me when a minister or priest preaches a sermon about how Christ called Martha on her busyness and told her to be more like her sister.

Then I read Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. I discovered that when a Martha like myself reads this book, she tends to start it with an attitude.  “There we go. Holding Mary up again and putting Martha down. I bet Weaver would still accept a meal that ol’ Martha made.”

Yep, that was me.  Attitude.  A lot like Martha.

But as I read the book, I made a discovery. Weaver calls on us to be both Martha and Mary. Mary without Martha is all meditation and no action. While it’s great to sit at Christ’s feet, there are people in this hurting world of ours who need to feel His presence.

There are people who were injured in that bomb blast who face physical uncertainty and big scary bills. Insurance companies balk at the expense of top notch prosthetics.  They sometimes question that people will need them long term. “How long are you going to need the prosthetic hands?” Yes, insurance companies have actually asked people that.  These people need a Martha or maybe even a dozen Martha’s.

But, for her own wellbeing, Martha needs to be a little like Mary too. Without God at the center of her actions, Martha comes to resent all the thankless labor. It feels pointless and becomes burdensome busy work. As Weaver helped me see, Christ understood Martha.  He wanted her to find balance and later scriptures show that she did as did Mary.

What would God have Martha do to help in the world today?  What words would Mary hear from Christ? I can’t tell you what their specific task would be but I think we all know that it would be a labor done bearing a message of Love.

–SueBE

Luke 10:38-42

New International Version (NIV)

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feetlistening to what he said. 40 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!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about Lori’s post, The Care and Feeding of Sunshine. In this post, Lori discusses happiness and whether or not we should expect to be happy 24/7.

I’ve also been thinking about Mary and Martha – the topic a friend is preaching about today. Normally when you hear the story of Mary and Martha you think about Mary sitting at Jesus feet while Martha does all the chores, working herself into a lather simultaneously. Christ chastises Martha.

I’ve always disliked this passage. Why? Because I want to be Mary – comfortable soaking up the presence of God while some poor wench does all the stinking work. But I’m not. I’m Martha all the way – not only do I end up doing the work but I often end up resenting it.

And this is what I’ve come to wonder about. Was Martha’s only fault that she was working vs listening? Or was she also to blame for making herself into a victim? Read the passage. Nothing is said about her being told to do all the work. These men would eat loaves and fishes that had been laying around in a basket all day. (Need I say yuck?) Something tells me that olives and figs would have been acceptable and a whole lot less work. But it isn’t the path that Martha chose. And it doesn’t say anything about her asking Mary for help either, so picture her heaving great sighs and baying around in the kitchen trying to get someone to feel sorry for her. A professional martyr.

I have to wonder if this is part of what Christ was getting on Martha about. Mary was not responsible for Martha’s happiness or lack thereof.

Don’t be like Martha. Happiness may not be available 24/7 but that isn’t an excuse to go out of the way to make yourself unhappy. If you revisit old slights and hold them fast, your hands will be too full of grudges to raise in Praise.

–SueBE

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