Ok, I know. The title for this post is actually part of the chorus from the song, “Vienna” by Billy Joel, but I thought it was apropos for what I was thinking about today.
We all know tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and the official holiday season is upon us. I emphasize that because we don’t just have Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. We have the 45 shopping days left till Christmas, or whenever you start counting, and Thanksgiving eve (still time to buy those turkeys and anything else you might have forgotten on your last trip to the grocery store!) and then Black Friday, which now lasts from part of the evening Thursday to sometime Friday afternoon or evening in some places.
So, in the frenzy of all of this activity, I thought about the story of Mary of Bethany and her sister Martha in Luke 10:38-42 (not to be confused with Mary the mother of Jesus, or Mary Magdalene, who are also Biblical characters. Apparently, just about everyone named their girl children Mary back then).
It says, “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’
And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'(NKJV)”
So, I ask myself, “Am I a Martha or Mary?”
Well, I do have some days where I say who cares if the kids pick up their socks out of the floor, and we can worry about the bills, the trash, the dishes and dinner tomorrow. I just want to read the new Joyce Meyer book and eat chocolate. Does that count as being a Mary? And maybe sometimes, I’m half-Mary and half-Martha, where I’m making mental lists of things I must do before the shopping days are over, but the Mary part of me wants to sit down and eat a bag of chips and say, “C’est la vie.”
But a lot of the time I think I lean solely toward being a Martha. “Lord, do You not care that my kids don’t know where the trash can is, or that these dogs have left pee on my carpet and no one knows who forgot to let them outside? Do You not know that my house is a wreck because I have three children, two of them teenagers?! And that Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and we have to find someone to babysit the dogs??”
At those times, He reminds me through His Word that He does care. And He gives us His strength when we’re tired to help us get through these hectic times. But the enemy would have me believe that He has left me all alone to deal with the hectic pace of this life and all of its responsibilities. And that’s simply not true. It’s just that God doesn’t get all bent out of shape about the condition of my kitchen, or about whether the presents are perfectly wrapped, etc. like I do. He sees from an eternal perspective, and knows that I won’t remember what our kitchen looked like 20 years from now, most likely, but I’ll remember how blessed I was to see the smiles on my kids’ faces as we share what we’re grateful for this year and celebrate together as a family.
It’s not that He doesn’t care about our concerns over the adult responsibilities that we all have though. In fact, He’s called us to be good stewards of quite a lot- and that’s why His help and His strength are always available for the asking. He knows he is “able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20 NKJV).
He’s telling us in the passage above to choose “the good part,” which is taking time to sit at His feet and learn from Him. He’s telling me that to be a Mary, I need to turn off the tv, unplug from the Internet, take off the superior sound-system headphones and forget about the messy house for a minute and just spend some time with Him.
When Jesus tells Martha that “one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part,” I believe He is telling us we need Him most of all, and that if we put Him first, we won’t be as “worried and troubled about many things.” We’ll be able to relax, knowing that He’s right there with us, in whatever we have to do today.
“Lord, today I ask that You help me to be more like a Mary, and just make it a point to spend time with You, rather than worrying and getting all nervous about this or that. Help me to be still and know that You are God. Show me what You would have me to learn today, and what You would have me to do. Help us as Christians to look for ways in which we can help others as well, that we may shine Your light into the dark places in the world. I pray that we may be deeply aware of Your love this holiday season and that we will be reminded that we have a great Lord, who is our Redeemer and Provider. Thank You Lord, for who You are. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”