|Painting by Dr. He Qi www.heqigallery.com|
We did talk about the obvious answer...that Christ wants us to listen to Him, to spend time with Him. The rest of the hoopla is not important. But we arrived home, and then there was lunch to fix, so the discussion got cut short. But I have been thinking about this for two days now and came to the conclusion that there were two issues at hand.
The first is "Priorities". It's not so much that Mary was spending time with Christ - that's a given. But it's more about the fact that Mary put Christ first above everything else. Mary understood that once Jesus came to their home, she would put aside everything else and make Christ her priority because nothing else could be as important as being "present" in Christ.. I mean, when would she ever have that opportunity again? And because of that, would she want to sit and absorb everything she could about Him? or would she want to be dishing up pilav in the kitchen? On the other hand, that part is important too. It's just not AS important. So I was thinking of these priorities during my morning prayer. I like to pray first thing in the morning, at about 5:00 a.m. I love this special time alone in the morning, and my intention is good - to set aside quality time with God - BUT my life is hectic. Inevitably during my prayer time, as I'm trying to purge my mind and focus on prayer, the Martha in me makes an appearance and allows my day-to-day to creep in. Then Mary corrals my thoughts back to prayer. Then Martha reminds me of all I have to do, then Mary takes the reins, well, you get the idea. I'm going to have to work on that. Focus and prioritization!
And then the second fault of Martha was that she allowed what started off as her JOY - to offer her hospitality to Christ - to become a negative. Her goal was to do something wonderful to show her love for Jesus. But she allowed anger, resentment, and jealousy toward her sister to creep in. She was probably feeling like she wanted Jesus' praise for all the trouble she was going through for Him. Instead Mary was the shining star of the day. I can totally understand how she felt. And the Bible doesn't mention how Martha's comments probably hurt Mary and caused her embarrassment . Negativity breeds negativity. Sometimes, it's the very thing that we're most passionate about that can frustrate us the most. Only because we have a vision of how we want things to be. And there's a healthy dose of pride - okay, an unhealthy dose - attached as well as we embark on the path to making things "just so." But we are not perfect. It's better to let things go that we are not in control of. We can't control what someone else does. We can't control the Mary. Mary is just fine the way she is. All we can do, is control the Martha. Try our best to do our best, but in all things to act out of extreme love.
During this Lenten season, I'm going to try to control my inner Martha, and set my priorities on living a Christ-centered life more like Mary. With only four weeks to go, I have my work cut out for me.