When you think of Mary & Martha- what do you think of?
I think of this book I saw once called "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World"- I feel like a bunch of my friend's moms read it while we were in elementary school. I think of the little foam board stories in Sunday school, and how Mary was always this pretty, saintly looking girl and Martha was scowling with her hands on her hips. I think about priorities & serving joyfully, and how often I let my work get in the way of my coming to Jesus to rest and learn. And I think about casserole. I once heard a speaker say that when Jesus said "only one thing is needed," He was saying something to the effect of, you didn't need to go all out, you really only needed to make a casserole. I'm thinking Jesus would have been a little more gracious though, instead of being like, well, Mary made the better choice and thanks for the spread, but I really had my heart set on casserole. Bless.
I was reading another story about Mary and Martha the other day, and it made me wonder why this isn't the story about Martha I more immediately remember. It's in John 11, right after her brother Lazarus died. It says that when Jesus arrived in Bethany, Martha came and met him, but Mary stayed at home with all the mourners who had come to comfort them. When Martha saw him, she said, "Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give to you." (v. 22) Hospitable, get-er-done, casserole-makin' Martha left all her guests at her house and came to Jesus in an expression of faith that He could have healed her brother, and that He could also still get whatever He asked of the Father. Then Jesus told her "I am the resurrection and the life" and raised her brother back to life.
I think sometimes women in the church feel shame in identifying with Martha. In our funny church lingo, we sometimes hear "Well... I'm a Martha," said apologetically, like that means their natural state is to be busy and feed people and somehow still not measure up because it wasn't the right casserole for goodness sake. But if we look at verse 5, it says "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus". Martha sometimes got her priorities out of whack, but she also had unwavering faith in Jesus even when her brother had just died and her sister didn't want to leave the house to greet Jesus.
If you identify with Martha like I do, don't read a book on how to not be Martha. God made Martha and He made you and He likes the way He did it. If everyone was a Mary dinner would never ever be ready. Rather, be most you. When Martha was most herself and most in line with Jesus, she believed that He could do anything, and it didn't matter that her house was full of people and she wasn't there.
And now, a recipe...
The "Only One Thing is Needed" Casserole
I'm completely kidding, ahahahahhh.