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Posts Tagged ‘Mary and Martha’

There’s this story in Luke, of two sisters who invite Jesus into their home. Mary and Martha. As the story goes, Martha spends time rushing about, making sure things are perfect for Jesus. Mary, on the other hand, just sat at the Lord’s feet to listen to his teaching. Martha complains about this because she feels like Mary has left her alone to do the work. Jesus responds in a peculiar way.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

My whole life I believed I was a Mary. I mean, I’m Bridget Gee, the one who has loved God since birth! And maybe before the age of seven, I was Mary, but things changed. I’ll adress that in a bit. But recently, in telling my mother about this thought, she immediately responded, “Oh no, I always thought you were a Martha.” Even though I agree with her now, it shocked me that the person who knows me most would consider me Martha my entire upbringing, and not tell me.

I guess things are better left to be learned independently. Oh, but if only I had had a Mary around- someone who wasn’t concerned about being perfect or put together, but someone who just longed to be in Jesus’ presence all the time. Maybe I would have noticed my ways then.

Or, maybe not. God is good, so he worked out this discovery in His time and not my own. I mean, like Martha, I’m a ‘get ‘er done’ type of gal. I want things fixed as soon as possible. I want things in order right now, and always. So naturally, I would have liked God to take care of this issue inside of me a long time ago.

But I neglected to notice that the way I began to live my life was the opposite of the Gospel. This year was the first year that I began to notice how Martha I have been for most of my life. When I was small, something shifted in my belief system that altered the way I functioned as a child of God until this very year.

I got it in my mind that I wasn’t a good enough Christian. I thought that I would start earning my salvation by praying the right prayers everyday, doing the right things, getting the best grades, listening to only Christian music, being a good daughter. I thought that these things would give me God’s favor and that I would rise in the ranks of my Christianity, that He would accept me more, love me more, give me more. That doesn’t sound like the free grace that the Gospel offers, does it? I won’t get into what shifted my child-like thinking, but I started to walk down this path of bondage at age seven.

Fast forward to age 23. 16 years of that. Imagine. Sixteen years, I tried to be good enough for God, for my parents, for my friends, for my church, for my school.That kind of life will never bring freedom to anyone. I felt trapped, never measuring up, started to cope in sinful ways, and felt even more trapped, bound by a life of slavery, a life of performance, and engaging in death too often.  It took sixteen years for me to get sick of it.

In this story, Jesus shows Martha the difference between her choice and Mary’s: being at Jesus’ feet is the only thing we need. It’s the only thing that will last. Martha chased empty and temporary things in order to please Jesus. But Jesus didn’t come to be served dinner. He didn’t come so that we may please Him. It was already too late for that. Instead, Jesus came so we may sit at His feet and listen and be healed. He takes care of the rest.

You know what’s funny? It’s not like Martha was left to her destructive ways. Jesus made sure to take a moment and teach her the most important thing. Even in her hurry and scurry, in her choice to not sit at Jesus’ feet, he still took care of her. In a couple short sentences, he cuts to the root of the matter,

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Even now, hearing these words to Martha, these words to me, I struggle. Let me translate what Jesus might be saying to me in this “in between” time in my life.

“Bridget, you are worried and upset about many things:
– money, paying your bills, gas for your car, even eating!
– raising enough money to start your work on campus
– feeling at home, being new, not feeling comfortable, being rejected
– failing and what people will think
But Bridget, even if you had all those things, they could be taken away from you at any moment. You only need one thing. To be at my feet. To hear my words. That can never, ever, be taken from you. And if that need is met, you will be more than taken care of.”

I’m gonna be honest with you guys. Even though I have been learning this lesson since about May, I’m still horrible at just sitting at Jesus’ feet. Sixteen years of habitual performance is hard to shake. But how else am I going to be healed of the hurts in my life unless I sit at Jesus’ feet?

How am I ever going to be someone who trusts the Lord in all things unless I practice now? Right now, I have nearly no other choice than to trust him. I can rely on nothing else. No matter how much I try to hurry around and get things in order so that I can feel secure, valued, and loved, it will all fail. Only being in relationship with Jesus and being in His presence will bring me security, worth, and endless love.

In this time in my life, where things are not secure, where I don’t feel the love of thousands of friends, where I’m just not sure what the heck I’m doing here, I feel invited to sit at Jesus’ feet. I feel invited to be Mary, like I always thought I was. I want to know Jesus, I want to hear his words over me, I want his everlasting goodness to wash over my wounds, my sin, and heal me forever. I want to fall in love. I want to have the kind of peace that Mary has- she knows she doesn’t have to do anything to make things right around her house. She knows her place- it’s not in the kitchen, it’s at Jesus’ feet.

What a wonderful God who loves me so much that He would rather me spend time with Him than prepare Him dinner. What a God who loves me so much that he would invite me to come to Him when I’m a mess, trying to do everything I can to raise enough money, to do my best at this staff worker thing, when I feel like I can’t do it alone. He still wants me.

So I’m admitting it once and for all, I am Martha! But let’s see if in a year from now I’ll want a name change…

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