Martha and Mary both loved Jesus. We know that, and a few other things about them– not alot. But in one of their stories we are introduced to two characters who weren’t exactly the same in the way they showed their love. Martha clearly had a personality that found her identity in doing, but Mary was different.
It occurred to me today as I sat down for the first time in at least a week to intentionally read the Word and pray that, while there was indeed many important, necessary things to do–just as Martha suspected– Mary was just with Jesus. She sat at His feet because He was sitting down to speak with her. Being “with” Jesus was her desire and where she felt a sense of rightness about her life. It was easier for Martha to be doing because, with that logical little head of hers, she wanted to feel all was right and feel reassured by her accomplishment, but Mary felt reassured because she was with Jesus.
Clearly Jesus perfected the balance of taking time for communing with those He had relationship with as well as doing the work He was called to. It was hard work, the kind that kept Him from eating meals on a predictable schedule or even having a home or other normal possessions. I’m guessing that the perfectly hardworking yet at peace Jesus got up at some time that day and did some work. I bet Mary would have been just as happy to be active with Him as well as sit with Him. She took her cues from Jesus because being with Him was where she felt certainty.
Martha failed to realize that she was actually wasting her precious resource of time on her self and not Jesus at all. She forgot that Jesus perfected diligence in His character, further evidenced by many labors of love ; and so, if there was something to be done, He would be doing it.
I get Martha. I want to work. I like it. But sometimes I’m working for the wrong reasons– not to “be with” Jesus. I work for many things, like justice or even my reputation. I get tired, limited and stressed out til I’m like, “Jesus! Look at Mary, just chilling over there while I’m freaking out because there is so much to do! Make her help me! And, while you’re at it, can you just send me some calming vibes too? Thanks!”
But He just shakes His head–sometimes with a smile because He knows my heart is driven by love, and sometimes with disappointment because He knows I forget the doing is ours to do and not just mine, or sometimes with hurt because He knows I’m really working for myself– and then He says, “Actually, Steph, Mary has chosen the better part. Come be with us.”