Wednesday, January 6, 2010

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD ... it's a Mary/Martha world!

Todays scripture that I studied took me to a very familiar story...Mary and Martha.

LUKE 10:8-40 "As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. (39) She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. (40) But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, 'Lord don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!' "

When I read this passage this morning, one thing became so obvious to me...even when Jesus Himself is in the house, there is conflict between people! Conflict is natural between people in their relationships. Look at the most recent IN YOUR OPINION POLL. I asked the readers "What are you most likely to get into a conflict about with your friends or family?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 57% of the readers voted that they would get into a conflict about cleanliness and order, aka Housework!
2. 28% voted and said that they would get into conflict over whose responsibility it was to get things done.
3. Another 28% responded that they would get into conflict over their beliefs.

Wow! 57% admitted that they were also like Martha and Mary!! (I am so relieved that I am not alone.) As I looked at this story this morning and saw that even in the midst of Jesus, there was conflict - I was reminded that just because we are Christians, we cannot assume that we will live conflict-free lives.

Even in a church full of well intentioned Christians, conflicts will come up. Someone will disagree with the leaders. Someone will not see eye to eye. Someone will disagree of the kind of music. Someone will hate the color of the new carpet. Churches are full of people and people are not perfect, therefore to think there is no conflict among people in church is ... well ... just kind of naive thinking.

When people get mad, angry, hurt and maybe even leave the church because of these things, most likely it is because they were looking at things thru their perspective and not really seeing the complete picture. Martha was seeing things from her limited perspective. Her perspective was that when someone important is over - the best way to honor them is with a clean house and a great meal. Basically what she was saying is that work always comes before pleasure.

The fact that Mary did not act according to these values that Martha had upset Martha, and therefore caused conflict. This did not make Martha love Jesus any less, nor did Mary's lack of assistance make her love Jesus any less. It just meant that each of them had a different perspective of how to show love to Jesus.

I can relate so much to this kind of conflict. I am a very OCD person and I stress to the max to have someone over. Everything has to be just so, while on the other hand, my husband has the ability to not let it bother him at all. (If we don't have any groceries in the house to serve, we can just offer them a glass of water ~ that is usually my husbands response to my overstressing.) But you know ...instead of bringing more stress upon myself and worrying about things, maybe I need to have more of a perspective as he does ~ and possibly he (my husband) could try to have more of a perspective as I do. And together we can work thru our conflict and enjoy the very thing that God wants us to enjoy.

So what kind of perspective do you have in your Mary/Martha world?


Laurie Ann said...

Great post! When the house is clean I'm a Mary all the way but if we have guests coming and the house is not at its best, I'm Martha. Trying to keep the house clean with 2 grandchildren over often is hard, but doable. I'm merging Mary and Martha more and more when I used to be just plain Martha.

Debbie said...

There is not a doubt in this world that anyone who knows me knows I am a Martha. I have struggled with this for years. I want soo much for whoever steps into my home to feel comfortable, relaxed and well attended to. I want them to see a house in order and "things" cared for and loved. I think for me, after 35 years together, my husband knows me well enough to know that he best shows his love for me by just helping me achieve whatever it is that I am finding necessary to do so in the first place,haha But it has caused many conflicts for us over the years let me tell you. I think you are 100% correct in saying that for us it becomes a balance of the two. I am busy serving and cleaning and fussing, and he is busy visiting and relaxing. BOTH important, haha...But I have learned to stop and sit and relax with him and the guests when he gives me the "eye", and he has learned to help me so I can do so. haha I LONG to be a Mary. I really do. I wish God had made me that way. And some people just are. But for me it is a struggle. Well worth it, so I work at it constantly. Blessings to you, Debbie

Shirley said...

What a wonderful post and something to seriously think about. I to stress over making sure everyone is comfortable, has enough food, enough coffee or tea, truth is I just love to wait on people. But I have learned to enjoy when we have guests, I will do the dishes later, I just want to visit. I believe as we get older it's not that these things don't matter anymore, it is there are just some things that are more important, like friends and family. so after everyone is gone, hubby helps and we whip things up pretty fast. I am getting better!