Saturday, March 31, 2012

Martha, Mary and Me

(image -  lds.org)

 "38.  Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39.  And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.
40.  But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore, that she help me.
41.  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things;
42.  But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
-Luke 10:38-42

I like the story of Martha and Mary. I love that the Savior came and visited these women, his friends. And, I love the way it shows us how to deal with our everyday lives.  (These are my thoughts on this story. Only mine. Not doctrine. Not representing my church. Just me.)

Martha was a homemaker. She was 'troubled'. Wouldn't you be? I know that Jesus was their friend, but still, who wants your friend to come over to a messy house?  And, you want to serve your friends lovely, comforting food. So, Martha, being Martha, worked. And, sisters being sisters, she wanted Mary to help.  Like Martha, I find it difficult to balance my spiritual and temporal roles.  I am often 'cumbered about' with the everyday chores and requirements of living. Laundry piles and dishes and food. Life would be simpler, but, much more hungry and bare, without them. If I could devote all my time to scripture study and prayer, I would be more spiritual, but my family would definitely suffer.

Our Church's General Conference is this weekend. It's time for us to be taught and inspired by our Prophet and other church leaders. We'll stay home, watch them on TV. It's nice. It's relaxed- well, except for the times I have to yell  lovingly ask my kids to 'Please, be quiet so I can hear!'   This time, more than any other, I've felt the need to prepare for my weekend.  Maybe there's a special message I'm meant to hear. Maybe I'm getting more mature, no that's probably not it.  But, all this preparing brought to mind the story of Martha and Mary.

I think that both of their examples are important.  Martha wasn't a spiritual slacker.  I'm sure that she wanted to sit and listen to the Savior.  But, she also felt the need to take care of his physical needs and those of her household. I realized that if I were to truly enjoy my conference weekend, I needed to take care of our physical needs.  Like a mother bird rearranging the sticks and feathers in her nest, I went about rearranging my home.  I felt the pull to clean and sort. I've swept out crumbs and cobwebs, discovered stowaway apple cores and neglected school papers.  I have washed and folded clothes, tucking them into dark drawers.  My house, tho' clean on a regular basis, rarely sparkles. Today, it is downright shiny.

As for Mary, perhaps she knew that her sister would take care of things (if this were me and my sisters,  I would know that Heidi would get things clean, and, Ellen would cook scrumptious food. Sisters are like that.) Maybe she just really  needed that spiritual lift her Friend would bring.  Whatever her reason, she did what she felt was most important and Jesus commended her for it.  For me, the nesting was necessary.  Now, I can relax. I needn't be 'troubled about many things'.  Like Mary, I can focus on the one thing that is needful.  I will put my energy into listening to the word of God. I'll be uplifted by the beautiful choir singing the hymns I have known since my youth.  The messages buoy me up.  And, as I sit in my clean home,  my spirit is filled and renewed.

10 comments:

  1. Nice evaluation of this passage. I used to definitely be a Martha but the older I get the more I am like Mary. :D

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    1. I think that happens with age. It takes a while to learn what it most important.

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  2. I just love this. I can very much relate to Martha. It always strikes me that what she was doing wasn't bad or unnecessary, quite the opposite. In another set of circumstances, it would have been the wise thing to do. But it's so liberating to me to think that Jesus Himself taught that there's a time for feeding the mind and soul and that the housework can wait.

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  3. I once wrote a post about being Martha pretending to be Mary.....I can not settle down if things are glaringly undone! I've embraced my Martha and think I've got a good balance between the two. Love your last line, this is exactly what I mean!

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    1. Balance is what it's all about, isn't it?

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  4. Beautifully written, Jewels.

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  5. I like your take on this. Though I have to say that I won't hesitate to use the concept that leaving housework undone is the path to greater spirituality if the need should arise. ;)

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