Mary and Martha




Women of Strength

Mary and Martha   Luke 10: 38-42

It is a familiar story. Jesus is at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary, and Martha. Other guests were present and Jesus was teaching. Martha was in the kitchen preparing several dishes for the special guest, but Mary was sitting near Jesus taking in every word he was saying. Frustrated that her sister wasn’t helping her, Martha complained to Jesus and asked him to make her sister help with the food preparation. Jesus answered Martha, but not in the way she expected. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” One can almost see Jesus shaking his head and gently admonishing Martha. The “one thing” Jesus is referring to is not only one meal item, not the several dishes Martha was preparing, but also his teaching. Mary was receiving food more important than what was being prepared in the kitchen. Jesus was feeding her soul.

In our busy world, it is easy to be distracted by the minutiae of the day and miss what is truly important. In a business seminar, we were told, “We neglect the important because we are tending to the urgent.” So many things demand our attention and we constantly put out little fires while what we need to tend to, the really important tasks, go undone.

I remember one day at work. I was under a deadline to submit the budgets for my cost centers. Budget time was always stressful and it was the only time I would close my door to my staff. This particular day, I was crunching numbers and doing my best to tune out everything else when there was a knock on my door, and another, and another. My manager was out for the day and little issues were needing attention. The “urgent” was calling me away from the “important” work of finishing the budget. The result was a longer day than planned and extreme fatigue. Everything has a cost. When we overbook ourselves and commit to more than we should, we pay the price.

One of the things that get pushed aside when we over commit is our spiritual journey. Just like Martha, we rush around taking care of little things and miss where God wants us to focus. Each day, even a few minutes spent with God in prayer, Bible study, and/or worship will energize us for the hard times and give direction to our lives. Everything in nature demands balance, and we are included. We can’t push the ‘on button’ constantly without burnout. Our bodies, our minds, and our spirit need recharging every day. Time spent with our Father is as important as the food we eat. The world would be a much better place and its people kinder if important time with God replaced some of our urgent, but unimportant, pursuits.

Prayer: Holy Father, slow us down and calm our racing thoughts. Speak to our burdened souls and give us peace.  Amen.

Debra Ison