Why is it that is takes a rainy Saturday to slow us down? At least it’s that way at our home. We hibernate, rest and relax. Get some much needed chores done, or perhaps catch up on some reading (or more like TV shows or movies). But the point is: we chill out. It is like we adopt the principle that FOR TODAY, it is perfectly acceptable for us to simply BE. Reminds me of Mary and Martha and Luke 10.
Which begs the question: Why can’t we be rainy Saturday people every day?
I get it–it’s just not practical or realistic to say we could spend our days ignoring the to do lists and the errands, the laundry and the ever-growing Christmas preparations that “must” be done. But I think the difference between us being everyday people and rainy Saturday people is like what Jesus saw in Mary and Martha when he ate with them. Luke 10: 38-42 finds Jesus dining with sisters Mary and Martha, and each woman has her own approach. Martha busies herself with all the food preparations and hostess duties. Meanwhile, Mary sits at Jesus’s feet.
Which one pleased Jesus more? Mary. Jesus says, “Mary has chosen the better part.” Kudos to Mary. But in doing that, Jesus wasn’t dissing on Martha either. He simply praised Mary’s choice.
I love the way Eugene Peterson paraphrases what Jesus says in The Message (one of many versions of The Bible):
“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. ‘Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.’ The Master said, ‘Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it – it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.'”
It’s the main course.
It’s the rainy Saturday. How easy it is to miss what really matters, isn’t it?
Charles Hummel wrote, “We live in constant tension between the urgent and the important. The problem is that the important task rarely must be done today or even this week. Extra hours of prayer and Bible study can wait. But the urgent tasks call for instant action—endless demands pressure every hour and day.” I call them fires: those things that just need immediate attention. I jump from one fire to the next because after all, they are FIRES and they require instant response. My mistake is labeling them fires in the first place.
Joanna Weaver describes it as “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World”:
That sounds like what I am looking for, so why is it so hard to be disciplined and DO it? Heart-to-heart intimacy takes effort, and it is a cautionary tale for us to not get distracted by the works/deeds so much so that we ignore or overlook the relationship.
Weaver writes, “We can get caught in the same performance trap, feeling as though we must prove our love for God by doing great things for him. So we rush past the intimacy of the Living Room to get busy for him in the Kitchen—implementing great ministries and wonderful projects, all in an effort to spread the good news. We do all our works in his name. We call him ‘Lord, Lord.’ But in the end, will he know us? Will we know him?”
This Advent, this 25 Days to Christmas, this is what I’m going to do. Carve out the time. Harness my inner Mary and push aside that Martha urge. Advent means coming, so WAIT FOR IT. I’ve got to do my part.And dangit, I need to quit labeling so many things as fires. Maybe then I’ll be able to focus on the “better part.”
Even when it’s not a rainy Saturday.