Friday, April 20, 2007

Mary or Martha?

In Luke 10 is a Bible story that has always puzzled me. The story is of Mary and Martha who were sisters and were good friends of Jesus. Apparently they had invited Him over for dinner and as Martha was working in the kitchen, Mary came and sat at Jesus' feet to listen to what He had to say. Martha came into the room and basically asked Jesus to have Mary come and help with the work so they could both sit down together. And here's the part I have never understood. He says
"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."

Ummm. Ok. On that night, he wanted Martha to come and sit down and listen, and dinner could wait. I get that, but I don't see that system really working out for my own household on a regular basis. Is it just me?

I have never been able to decipher the message we are supposed to get here. Is the message that the work is never done, so you have to just leave it sometimes? Or is it that Martha should put spiritual things ahead of the temporal things?

I guess I have a Mary heart, with a Martha head. The Mary part of me realizes the need for being spiritually fed, while the Martha part of me knows that it is VERY difficult for me to feel spiritual if there is clutter and dirt everywhere.

And so I struggle with it. I want to "choose the good part". Doesn't choosing the good part sometimes mean having clean laundry, helping with homework, and yes, even cooking dinner?

Maybe the key is in the last phrase - "which shall not be taken away from her". Is the message that when you find time for the spiritual, you are finding time to do things that will remain with you in the eternities? I know my kitchen certainly will NOT stay clean through the eternities. However, whatever relationships I build with my friends, family, and even the Savior now are the ones I will take with me.

I'm guessing the answer is one of balance. Yes, we need to be like Mary and choose to listen to the Savior whenever we can. Heck, there's nothing I'd like better than to curl up with my scriptures and some Ensign magazines for a day and do nothing else, but somehow I don't think that was the intended lesson. We also have to be like Martha, and get the work done. So how do we choose?

More pondering to come....

No comments: