Luke 10:38-42 (MSG)
Mary and Martha
38-40 As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
41-42 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
People are interesting—
Some people are morning people while others are night people
Some people are always in motion, while others are content to remain still.
Some people are get up and go DOERS while others are sit down, reflect and BE-ers.
Some people fret over every detail while others go with the flow…
Some people sweat the small stuff AND the big stuff, while other people take life as it comes and deals with the big stuff.
Jesus sees Martha is tied up in the small stuff, and angry that Mary is unfazed and hanging on Jesus’ every word…
Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
Jesus told Martha to let go of the little things and focus on the essentials… keep your eye on the ball – determine what is important and what can wait…
Give the important things the TIME it deserves… and that time is a peculiar sort of time..
It is “kairos” time instead of “chronos” time,
Which are two Greek words for time.
KAIROS Time – opportune time – God’s time – season – fitting time
CHRONOS – Chronological time – duration Sequence
In other words KAIROS- the fullness of time instead of the mere ticking and keeping of time which is CHRONOS.
Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing –
Instead – soak yourself in the FULLNESS of time
Like Martha, we get caught up in the busyness of life… that we miss the fullness of life.
A man goes on vacation with his family.
It’s been a long year, and he is looking forward to this suspension in the normal routine of things.
He is ready to put away the calendar and to get beyond a telephone and to do different things for a little while.
But, without his noticing it,
the to-do list for his vacation is as long as the to-do list back at the office.
Read these novels go to this museum, take this hike, eat at this restaurant, get cabin repaired buy and absorb these newspapers.
Until one night, early on in the two weeks away, his little four-year-old says,
“Daddy, will you read me my stories tonight?”
He stretches out on the bed next to her, and they read.
And, because she’s tired, he knows that as soon as this last story is finished,
he can get back to his novel and begin planning the events of the day tomorrow.
But instead. When the last story is over, she says,
“Daddy, will you just sit here until I fall asleep.”
And so he does.
And with the light out while she sings herself to sleep, he listens to her voice fade quietly away,
then he listened to her breathing,
the curtain rustling quietly in the soft breeze
THEN- he listened to the holy sounds made by wonder itself.
Suddenly He is aware of the
fullness of time
and the keeping of time is not as important
and he is thankful.
People need more of that kind of time.
So maybe we appreciate this interpretation of these words of Jesus to Martha:
Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing.
One thing only is essential,
and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course,
and won’t be taken from her.”
The fullness of time…. Time to smell the roses
Time to JUST BE as well as TO DO
Martha is not just in need of the DURATION of time – to get things DONE –
but also the FULLNESS of TIME to receive spiritual enlightenment.
And Martha needs the ability to know which TIME she needs….
Chronos or Kairos –
so she can recognize the moment God is breaking through – and be sure she isn’t distracted by filling Chronos time with busyness….
This story shows how Sometimes, what matters the most is the contemplative response ( MARY )
And sometimes what matters is the Going and — Doing response which is often a result of when God breaks into one’s life…
One response is not better than the other.
What matters most is the ability to discern what to do on each moment.
Just here is where Martha’s busyness is ill-timed. It’s not the busyness by itself that’s the problem,
but the timing of it.
Paul Tillich once put it this way.
“There are innumerable concerns in our lives and in human life generally,” he says,
“which demand attention, devotion, passion.
But they do not demand infinite attention, unconditional devotion, ultimate passion.
They are important, often very important, for you and me and for the whole of humankind.
But they are not ultimately important….”
Sometimes, the faithful thing to do is to drop everything and sit still and listen ~ like Mary.
Other times, the faithful thing to do is to get busy and to commit to some important task ~ ~ like Martha.
If we were to ask Jesus which of these two things we need more of ~ Mary’s reflectiveness or Martha’s activism ~ he would probably say yes.
Again – it is not a matter of good or bad
Right or wrong
Be or Do —
It is BOTH — AND
We must be mindful and watchful of how God’s Kingdom may be drawing near….
In one who is in need
An Injustice that needs righting
Noticing the beauty of the world
Then discern if you are
TO BE (Mary) OR NOT TO BE (Martha)
Thanks be to God.