Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are You a Mary or a Martha?

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
 Luke 10:40-42 ESV

This is an easy question for me to answer.  There's no doubt that I'm a Martha.

I want to be a Mary, but I find it difficult to allow others to serve me.  Instead, I charge headfirst into making sure that the comforts of others are met before my own, and the end result is usually exhaustion and regret that so much of my time I was allowed to be with them was wasted on making sure things ran smoothly.

This summer has been filled with visiting friends and relatives.  I looked forward to them coming, even for a day or two, but my excitement quickly dissipated as I found myself fussing over them and worrying that every moment was filled with making sure their needs were met.  Unlike Martha who complained that Mary failed to help her, I felt I needed to do it all so that my visitors' vacations would be memorable ones full of fun and relaxation.  Therefore, I missed out on a lot because of my predisposition to try and handle everything, including my six grandbabies and two of my son's fiance's young girls running in and out and meeting their demands.

It didn't take me long to realize I was actually worse than Martha!

Mary had it right.  She also had the best seat in the house: at Jesus' feet.  She knew her time with Him was going to be short and wanted to take advantage of every second of the time she had to spend with Him.  As I look back on the last month, I realize that I missed out on the enjoyment I could have experienced with my family because I refused to sit down with them and let come what may.  Unlike Mary, I failed to choose the "good portion," those times of reminiscing, memory building, and laughter that comes with the precious time we spend with those who live far away and are only able to visit once in a great while.  The photos I took should have been a reminder of the good times.  Instead, they are a reminder of how brief those intimate moments were because of my frantic desire to serve my loved ones, and the regret I feel for having done so.

Unfortunately, I will probably continue to be a Martha - at least most of the time.  It's just the way I'm equipped, wanting to make sure that everyone's needs are met.  But the next time I'm given the gift of having my family surrounding me, I'm going to strive real hard to be a Mary and treasure each second with them.

I'm going to sit down and let my family gather around my feet.  I'll let the dirty dishes and clothes pile up and the wet towels hang out on the line.  I'll try and turn a blind eye to the messes that build, knowing they can be dealt with later.  I'll accept the offer of help from the other adults that I so often refuse.  And as my grandchildren run rip-shod over my space, I'll smile to myself as their mischievous antics are buried deeply in my heart to recall at a later time when they are away from me.

I thank the LORD for blessing me with time to be with my family, even if I didn't utilize it they way I probably should have.  He has reminded me that the "good portion" of simply being in and enjoying their presence is the absolute best place to be.  The wonderful memories of them that He's buried deep in my heart, regardless of how brief, can never be taken away from me, and I will treasure them forever.

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