Thursday, September 5, 2013

Martha or Mary?

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)

I have read this passage many times over the years and always knew I was a Martha. I have a very hard time sitting still, especially when there are tasks to be done. In fact, I get giddy when I can check things off my to-do list!

But this story of Martha and Mary has spoken to me at a new level this week. It started this past Sunday at church when we sang “Fill Me Up” by Jesus Culture. The words are simple: “You provide the fire, I’ll provide the sacrifice. You provide the Spirit, and I will open up inside. Fill me up, God. Fill me up, God. Fill me up, God. Fill me up, God.” I sang it but my heart wasn't really into it. Like Martha, I was distracted.

Then one of our pastors shared a Word. He said that when he asked God to fill him up, God gave him the image of someone filling a glass, except they kept moving the glass! The pastor went on to say that God wants to fill us up, but that we keep moving. We are too busy to slow down and stop so that He can fill us up!

You ever have those moments when you feel as if God hit you over the head with a spiritual two by four? This was one of those moments for me. God had spoken his Word directly to me. I could not deny it.

And I already knew it. I have been thinking a lot lately about how I am too busy. I am a wife; I am mother of four, three of whom are still at home; I run our household and all of which that entails. In addition, I am on the pastoral team at my church where I teach classes and mentor women, I do the books for my husband’s business, I help a friend with the books for her business, I am the president of a non-profit organization, I cycle with a bike club, and more. Whew! Life seems chaotic, unorganized, and unfocused. I certainly don’t have time to stay on top of everything. And what have I pushed to the back burner? As always, my quiet time with God.

One of my main goals in life, what perhaps should be my only goal, is to know God more. Because if I know God more, that takes care of everything else. But how do I do that? I need to be like Mary instead of Martha. God addresses this very directly in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Be still. I need to stop doing, like Martha, and just be, like Mary.

As of yesterday, all of my children are in school full time. I think this is finally the year that I will be able to step back and rest. My youngest went to kindergarten, my second grader is in a great school with the resources to help her with her special needs, my fifth grader is gaining independence, and my eleventh grader is almost completely independent. I am not so needed!

So how will I fill my time? I have actually committed to NOT filling my time. I want to know God more. I want to find rest in Him. I want Him to fill me up. So I am going to be still. I am going to sit quietly and listen. I am going to set aside my Martha self and ignore the distractions. I am going to become more like Mary and sit at the Lord’s feet listening to what He says. I am going to choose the one thing that is needed.

Will you join me?

P.S. Here's a link to "Fill Me Up":