Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mary vs Martha

I think being busy is getting a really bad rap these days. Don't stop reading.

I also think being busy deserves its really bad rap. (I am a total fence rider on almost all issues.)

But here's the thing: I am busy. You are busy. I really think it's what you are busy doing that makes it good or bad. 

And also understand I am NOT the one to judge that. That is not what I am going to do here. I am really musing on myself, and you get to read along. Lucky you. 

Preston and I are not deep people. Generally we do not enjoy theological books, books that reference other books, or books that use big words. Not to say we aren't intelligent, which maybe is questionable, too, but we just aren't big on introspection. We prefer to read things by Brad Thor, Vince Flynn, or the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. (if you haven't read that series, you are missing out on a beautiful look at simple lives. It is my FAVORITE of ALL TIME. But not too deep. Because I can't go there.)

We also aren't still for very long. Meaning we like projects, we enjoy being outside DOING things - mowing, planting flowers, playing ultimate Frisbee - or doing things inside - playing games, reading books, building shelves, anything. But just sitting, drinking in a magnificent sunset or marvelling at the beauty of a snowfall is difficult. We would rather build a fort and pound the kids with hard, icy snowballs. 

I did take this snow picture which I think is quite nice.



And then we played Fox and Goose Tag.


As such a person I find doing things like writing in a journal about my deep thoughts really challenging. One, because I don't have super deep thoughts, or if I do they come in blips and quickly change or disappear completely, and two, because I just can't. It isn't in me. Every once in a while I think I'm going to start, but I end up writing ridiculous things like, "I had jam on my toast instead of butter this morning. What do you think that means, Diary?"

There is a very famous passage of Scripture in Luke where Jesus addresses Martha's complaint of how Mary isn't helping her in the kitchen but is instead sitting at the feet of Jesus, soaking up His presence. People use this passage to justify their criticism of busyness. 

I have a little different view on it, given that I share a name with the woman who chose the lesser path in this instance. If Jesus was here, sitting in front of me, I don't know how I would respond. It's like that Mercy Me song that came out after 9/11 that broke records on all kinds of music charts. It's all about imagining what we will do when we one day come face to face with Jesus, the God of the Universe, the Creator. We just don't know. But I imagine I will fall on my face and cling to the hem of His garment, much like the woman who sought healing from an affliction of more than a decade did or like the Baby used to do when I would cruelly drop her off at a school where everyone adores her and loves Jesus to boot. 

So, if He was here, I think I would actually choose Mary's path. But He isn't here. He is in Heaven, preparing Paradise for me. FOR ME! A sinner at my worst. But still. The Bible tells me He is working to prepare a place and constantly interceding with the Father on my behalf. So I guess I'll take it. 

What He did leave here is the Holy Spirit and His Word, the Bible, which I love. So I sit in the Word everyday for a time, not long because there are these three people He gave me to care for who inevitably interrupt with all their urgent Lego or getting the TV turned to PBS or can't get the seam of their sock lined up perfectly inside their shoe needs. But I sit. And I read. Because Scripture is the hem Jesus gives us for today.

And in His word I read A LOT about serving. Serving the poor - the monetarily poor, the spiritually poor, the emotionally poor. Serving His bride, the church - teaching Sunday school, washing communion cups, planning picnics, taking meals to the body. Serving my husband - packing his lunch, allowing him evenings off to play basketball, and yes, checking his pockets. Grrr. Serving my parents and his, serving my children and the people who love them, serving, serving, serving. 

Preston's rest.

Yes, the Gospels all record time where Jesus went off to be alone, to pray, to be refreshed, to just be. To escape the busyness for a moment. So I think that is important. So important. And I think we all do that in different ways. Some people journal. Some people go on girls' weekends. Some people gaze at the sunset or watch the snow fall. Some people exercise (I personally feel this makes me sin as I cannot stop curse words from dominating my thoughts, which is why I avoid it.). Some people do a marathon nap or binge watch Friends Beth Moore Bible studies. I write this blog. It's cathartic and provides rest. 

But you know what my favorite verse in the whole Bible is? John 21:25. It says,

"Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."

I love how John uses that word "suppose." It sounds like he's musing, reflecting on all the greatness Jesus did. And it is beyond my human comprehension the number of books it would take to fill the world. Jesus was busy. There's no denying it. 

So this is how Preston and I are trying to live. Not because it makes us better, but because we want to be like Jesus. We want to leave this earth EXHAUSTED. Exhausted of our time, obviously, because we are going to leave when we are dead which means our time is up. But also of our energy, our money, our love. In Acts 4:32-37 Luke writes about how the church loved each other so well that NOT ONE person was needy. They all considered their property to belong to the community, selling things belonging to them simply to meet the needs of brothers and sisters.

Now the Bible also talks about being wise and storing food and resources for a day when they won't be plentiful, so I am not telling you we are selling off everything except for a cardboard box we will live in, and if you do that I must question your sanity. But I do want the cry of our hearts to be "How can we do more, Lord? What should we do with this extra time? What should we do with this unexpected bonus? How can we love that unloveable person? What is sitting in my basement we could give?"

And sometimes the answers to those questions are, "Nothing, now. Now you should rest. And refuel. And journal. (He never tells me this.) Get a Starbucks and wander Target. Stay in and play Scattergories tonight. Keep the bonus because there is an unexpected tonsillectomy (or braces) coming your way. You need to step back from that person. I am sending someone else. And you need to hang onto that TV/VCR combo in your basement because your Baby will be sick and want to watch Mary Poppins which is still on VHS tape. But you will get to write a blog post while she watches." And it's so important to take the time to sit in His Word to distinguish His voice from the ones in the world who tell us we either aren't doing enough, or we deserve to end every day with a bubble bath and a massage. And so you can have the confidence to say "no" or "yes" when an opportunity presents itself. The sheep know the voice of the Shepherd and can tell when their Shepherd is the one calling.

So there is no judgment from this seat. None at all. Just reflecting. Hey, I'm introspecting!! It's a miracle. (Sorry this one isn't so funny. If you need funny, go back to #thestruggleisreal. It's my favorite.) 

This is always my prayer before I write a blog post:

"Lord, you already know the post. Show it to me." And He may show it to me right away, or it may be a few days before a blog-worthy drama/tragedy/comedy happens. But I believe this is the one He had for me on this cozy sick day. 

And then I pray the right people, the people who need it, will read this one. And then I hit "publish."

Grace and grace and grace,
Martha





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