Oh Martha, Martha

September 18, 2015

I went into this week with a goal… a goal to accomplish as much as I could.

Everyday I would wake up and my first thought was- ‘Here we go.’ As I would get ready I would make a mental list of what I needed to get done before work. At the same time I would already be running through the list I needed to accomplish today. My list was long. Just go and look at the massive amount of sticky notes covering my desk.

I’m known to try to pack too much into one day. My husband and mom remind me of this when I get a little over zealous. I think I can fit all of my errands into 2 hours, when in reality it will take me 4. In the end that leaves me with too much on my plate and not enough hours in the day to accomplish them.

So I go into my work day with enough work to do for not just a day but probably two. I wake up with a goal, and I go to bed with my last thought focused on what I will need to do tomorrow.

Today was no different. I wanted to get as caught up as possible. This is my busy time of year. If I don’t work ahead, I know I’ll be behind and I probably won’t be able to get caught up until after Easter. So I was determined. I’m running around church trying to get tasks done when I keep hearing this whisper.

I ignored it… well at least for the first couple of hours. I have a devotional book on my desk that kept calling my name (‘Just give me five minutes,’ it whispered) and my internal reply was, ‘let me first get this next thing done then I’ll stop.’ Except that next thing led to a few other next things. The nagging whisper could not be ignored (actually it wasn’t nagging me. It was gentle and hopeful, yet I found it’s presence a nuisance).

Finally I set my work aside and read the short devotional twice to soak it in. Then I flipped to the passage and it was there God stopped me in my tracks.

It was the story of Mary and Martha.

“Martha had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching. But Martha was very busy and distracted with all of her serving responsibilities; and she approached Him and said, “Lord is it of no concern to you that my sister has left me to do the serving alone? Tell her to help me.” But Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered and anxious about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, and Mary has chosen what is better.”

Right there I felt called out. I was the definition of Martha.

I’ve never really cared much for the lady Martha. I always thought Mary’s gentleness and earnestness to be with Jesus admirable. But I totally get Martha. Martha saw nothing wrong with what she was doing. She thought Jesus would take her side. She wasn’t wasting her time. She wasn’t distracted by frivolous worldly tasks. She wasn’t caught up in herself. She was ‘serving.’ That’s what I remind myself as I’m running around the church in the name of accomplishment.

However Martha’s serving wasn’t strengthening her spiritually. It was making her worried, bothered and anxious. (This story might be super old, but I can picture many well-intentioned Martha’s today, me being one of them).

But as someone taught me a long time ago, ‘serving begins first with receiving.’ In order to serve well, you have to receive what God has in store for you first.

Today I think that meant getting away and just resting like Mary did beside Jesus. (Even if that means I’m putting off some tasks. I think Jesus will be able to handle those things if I give Him more of my time).

When I think of the name Martha, I think of my sister and brother in law’s dog. I think they named their dog perfectly. Martha has more energy than I’ve seen any dog possess. In the time it takes me to walk through their door and take my shoes off Martha has already ran about 5 laps around the living room (and that probably doesn’t include her jumping up and over the couch).

I don’t want to be a Martha. I want to be able to slow down. 

When I wake up, I don’t want my first thought to be “Here we go.”… or… “Its morning already?”… or… “Not yet, give me 10 more minutes.”

I want my first thought to be one of praise and joy. And the same goes for my last thought. 

To my dear friends out there who understand the drive for accomplishment and productivity all too well, I encourage you to listen to the whispers, even if it’s just for five minutes. Perhaps God will catch you in that moment and speak the gentle reminder you most need to hear and it will change how the rest of your day goes.


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