To all of the women out there during the busyness of the Christmas Season:
If you’re not careful, you’re going to miss it. Am I talking about the latest Hallmark movie? Or perhaps Christmas cards, gifts to others in need, meals that are photo-worthy, that adorable photo with Santa, ringing the Salvation Army bell, or the expressions on your children’s faces when they open up those long-awaited presents? What about time with loved ones? The JOY of the season?. No doubt all of these things are amazing and fun and we all look forward to them each year. But what you might miss is even greater.
Years and years ago, in the town of Bethany, there lived a man named Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary and Martha. Many have heard the story. The most important guest that their house would ever hold was stopping by for a visit. He loved this family and likely grew up with them. Perhaps familiarity had made Martha slightly oblivious to who exactly she would be serving as their guest. As the to-do list mounted, Martha moved around faster and faster to try to accomplish each important task. No doubt the stress of hosting was getting to her. Everything needed to be perfect. Someone needed to get this huge list completed and Martha was the woman for the job. It was in her blood. She loved to serve and she was really good at it. As she rushed about working, she soon recognized the absence of her sister, Mary. Where was her most trusted help? She had a houseful of people to feed and Mary was missing. She scoped out the people sitting with her important guest at the table and could not believe what she was seeing. Her sister Mary, completely against all social protocol, was sitting near the men. This was completely unacceptable. Women were to be serving, not socializing with men. Martha was ashamed as she watched her sister kneel to the ground, let down her hair and begin to clean their guest’s feet with spikenard. Cleaning the feet of guests was certainly normal, but letting down her hair while forsaking the housework? This was unacceptable. Martha’s frustration grew leaps and bounds. Her annoyance with Mary’s lack of help and embarrassing display began to cloud her judgment. Ignoring social protocol herself, Martha began to vent her frustration to the very guest in which Mary was enthralled. Surely he would understand that Mary needed to be in the kitchen. There was much to do and not enough hands to do it! She appealed to Him, believing that He would sternly correct Mary’s behavior and put her in her place. Much to Martha’s dismay, her guest did not see her side. He did not rush to her defense. Instead, it was Mary he defended. “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Talk about a slap in the face – a wake-up call – a visit with reality – a humbling, pivotal moment in Martha’s life. It was Mary who had seen the big picture. It was Mary who had understood just how important this guest really was. It was Mary who had forsaken the to-do list and what was expected of her, and truly grasped the most important thing. Jesus. The to-do list was important, but Jesus was more important. She had almost missed the most influential, powerful person to ever walk this planet and He was sitting right in her very own house. She had almost missed that “one thing”. Worshipping at the feet of Jesus. Giving Him the credit that is due Him.
We can be the same exact way as women! The gift-wrapping, the baking, the cooking, the giving, the songs, the events, the plays, the choir specials, the coordinating outfits, the children…these things are so important but they are not THE most important. Are we forgetting the “one thing”? We say “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, but does our life reflect that? If we have spent more time wrapping presents than wrapping ourselves in the presence of Jesus Christ….if we have not immersed ourselves in God’s Word, sitting at His feet and giving Him praise, then we have missed it all, friends. Let’s learn from Martha and pattern our lives after Mary. Let’s give Jesus Christ the time, attention, praise and glory that He so rightfully deserves.
For an in-depth study of Mary and Martha, check-out this book: Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.