Choosing the better part

Merry Christmas! Isn't it wonderful it's still Christmas? With the New Year just beginning we are presented with the Martha and Mary situation again (!) in today's Gospel (Luke 10:38-42). It's a helpful passage as we look at our New Year's resolutions, hopes and plans for 2019.

While many of us want to be more like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus and seeking the Kingdom of God, we can't help but feel the urge like Martha to do and take action. To see some results and to be making a difference. 

Mary sits as Jesus' feet and listens. Martha is burdened with much serving. She confronts Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” In this complaint we see Martha's frustration with Mary. We often think it's because Martha wants Mary to help her, and that Martha's weakness is that she's too busy––too busy to pull away from the demands of serving and too occupied. But the real source of Martha's frustration is that she wants to be sitting at Jesus' feet, too. Martha's weakness is not one of busyness and distraction, but one of lack of trust. 

Martha feels obliged to do the serving. In her mind, she's cycling through the infamous question, "If I don't do it, who will?"

How often do we run on the hamster wheel of that question? How often do we think we're the only person in the world who can do that specific task? How often do we miss opportunities because we couldn't imagine what would happen if we didn't do that thing? That thing, that task making us anxious and worried. 

Jesus wants to free Martha and us. He wants to restore her trust in Him. When he says, "Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her," Jesus is also telling Martha, "You can choose too! You can come sit too. I will take care of the rest. Come sit." He's inviting her to trust Him. 

He's inviting us to trust Him this year––with big things and small things and especially those things that we think we're the only person in the world that can do them. Because He wants to teach us that we're not alone and isolated, but that He is with us in everything. He can help us in everything and that we don't have to carry such a heavy burden. 

As we look at the year ahead, let us be like Mary in contemplation to fill us so we can serve like Martha, but all with the underlying trust in Jesus. For this "will not be taken from her.”