Pass the Potato Chips
This week in Bible Study we were discussing the story of Mary and Martha. It’s a story of Jesus and His team coming to town and spending dinner with the two sisters. The older sister Martha was busy getting the meal prepared while Mary was taken up with sitting on the floor hearing Jesus share with the rest of His guys. As the story goes, Martha gets pretty bent out of shape over the fact her sister would prefer being a ‘lounging lizard’ and listen to stories when there was so much work to be done. So much so, she finally said something to Jesus about it.
Luke 10:38-42 (New Century Version)
38 While Jesus and his followers were traveling, Jesus went into a town. A woman named Martha let Jesus stay at her house. 39 Martha had a sister named Mary, who was sitting at Jesus' feet and listening to him teach. 40 But Martha was busy with all the work to be done. She went in and said, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me alone to do all the work? Tell her to help me." 41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things. 42 Only one thing is important. Mary has chosen the better thing, and it will never be taken away from her."
I chuckle at Jesus’ response to Martha. It translates in my brain to; “Martha, Martha, Martha! Eat a Snickers bar. You’ll feel like yourself again!” Unfortunately for Martha, Jesus’ response was tough on the ears, especially for someone who really enjoyed serving guests like she did. When I put myself in her shoes, I get it. I can’t say I wouldn’t have said the same thing to Jesus if it was my younger brother laying around while I did all the work (Oh wait that was my childhood!). Now add to all this the culture of their day. Back then the men hung out discussing ‘men’ stuff, the women would talk ‘women’ stuff in the kitchen while preparing to serve the men. So to be somebody like Mary who was not doing ‘her job’ was in her day a move that was way out of the box for a woman both socially and culturally (Go Mary!). To top it off, to have the Master give His ‘thumbs up’ in approval of Mary’s actions was absolutely unheard of. Yes, lounging lizard Mary won the night while worker bee Martha was officially tagged worry wart and Miss Grumpy Pants. Tough break for Martha with a zero score on accolades from the Son of God. Oh how life just doesn’t seem fair some days. Or maybe Martha just didn’t connect the right dots.
Speed up 2000 years later and I’m convinced that we, like Martha aren’t connecting the right dots. Honestly I believe this is a beautiful story about learning the art of working ‘with’ God. A story of the Law verses Grace. Sometimes we can do all the right stuff, follow all the right rules both socially and culturally and yet somehow end up disconnected from having that genuine-heartfelt love relationship with Jesus. Our Sunday morning appearance looks good ‘cause we perfected the art of saying and doing the right things, but more times than not we sadly burn up and out trying hard to please God and others. In the process of working hard to perfect our actions and image we all too often unsuspectingly end up causing collateral damage – we get ugly towards our brothers and sisters for not working or looking more like us causing irreparable damage to good relationships. But in walks grace, the lounging lizard sitting at Jesus’ feet. Not worried about church culture or what is socially acceptable amongst fellow saints, grace wants nothing more than to sit at His feet and get to know Him. A place of rest. A place to breathe again. A place of casting all our cares on Him because He cares. No Martha, it’s not a license to do whatever we want. It’s the freedom to do whatever He wants. It’s this kind of genuine-heartfelt love relationship that Jesus refers to as ‘the better thing.’ It’s having a real relationship with the Master that grows the more time we take to sit and know Him. A relationship that will never burn up or out. A relationship that will never be taken away from you.
Pass the potato chips. I’m hanging out with Him!