Sunday, May 13, 2012

Martha, Mary and Me

  Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! 
I would  fly away and be at rest. Psalm 55:6

     The other day I looked up from the House Beautiful magazine I had been studying over coffee and grumbled to my daughter, “Patty, not one room in this house is clean.  Not one room.”
     Our home was in sharp contrast to those lovely sanitized homes in the magazine.  The entry way was a dumping station for jackets, book bags, and shoes of all sizes.  There was mud in various stages of wet and dry on the floor.  The dining room table had assorted piles of mail, homework, tools, granite, and a huge tupperware container of six live chicks.  The orchid set so cheerily in the center of the table looked completely out of place.
     In the living room, Pat was glued to the computer with piles of paper around him.  My desk was equally littered with a scrapbook project.  The couch pillows were literally toss pillows.  The dog had managed to gather every random sock in the house and was hoarding them under the coffee table.
     The kitchen and the family room were a quagmire of legos, action figures, chip wrappers, and possibly every dish and glass we own.  There were food items that had been pulled from various cabinets strewn across the counters and table.  My beloved sons were draped in blankets arguing over which TV program to watch.
     Now I would like to say that I responded graciously, and quoted scripture - Psalm 40:2 comes to mind.  “He that lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” - but I would be lying.  What I actually did was banish the boys to clean their room and began scrubbing.  My house still doesn’t look like any of the pictures in the magazine but I feel a whole lot better.
     In Luke 10 we read about Jesus visiting the home of his friends, Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.     
 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
 “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.”  Luke 10:38-42
      Stick with me here because I’m probably not heading exactly where you think I am.  Martha usually gets put down for her actions.  I admire Martha.  Somehow I know that her house never looked quite like mine.  Martha opened her home to welcome Jesus and His entourage of twelve disciples and their crew.  That would send anyone into a dither.  Martha was not doing something wrong, she had simply allowed her service to become the center of her energy and attention.  
     As a woman, caring for our husband and children usually includes cooking, scrubbing, laundry, and wallowing in mud and perhaps chickens.  But we need to be careful not to let cleaning and decorating be the focus in our homes.    
     Consider instead Mary at the feet of Jesus.  As parents we have received the beautiful gift of children, let’s not get so involved in the busyness of keeping a house that we overlook the people in it.  All to often, I am in the same room as my children, but I am not engaged with them.  I am cleaning, reading, on the computer, or working at something.  I am not the perfect parent - just ask my children,  but I do take time to drag them away from the computer and television, whether they want it or not, to spend time with them.  Let's sit down with our husband and children and build relationships.  Let's play, pray and worship with them.  Mary opened her heart to Jesus.  She sat at his feet and listened when He spoke.  
     Jesus says, “I know your works.  See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it.”
     There is God’s promise.  If we open wide the door to our heart, we will see that Jesus has thrown wide the doors to Heaven and given us free access to come to Him.  
     “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven, and the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, Come up here...” Rev. 4:1
     A prayer of Jesus from John 17
I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of this world.  They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me came through you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.  I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.  And glory has come to me through them.  Holy Father protect them by the power of your name. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  My prayer is not that you take them out of this world, but that you protect them from the evil one.  Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I send them into this world.
     Choose what is better.

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