Do you know the Bible story of Martha and Mary?
Jesus visited the home of two sisters. He sat and taught – doing His thing. Mary chose to “sit at his feet and listen.” Martha busied herself tidying and preparing – complaining about no one helping.
Who was right – or acted in a better way? Here’s my modern take on the lesson of this tale.
First off, the characters in this drama today would be Marty and Mary, or Martha and Mark, or Marty and Mark. The teaching applies to everyone, anyone.
Historically, it was more notable – almost shocking in the 1st century – for the actors to be women. Jesus was emphasizing the discipleship of all people.
Second, neither sibling was doing wrong. Both were ‘working’ at good things, learning and providing food. Jesus simply pointed out that food for thought was the more important at this time.
I mean, how often do you have The Messiah in your house?
Third, it’s the attitude, not the activity, that Jesus was trying to stress. It was perfectly fine for Martha to get dinner together. Her lack was in speaking out against what her sister desired in that moment.
A righteous evening would have gone like this:
I imagine how my extended family gathers for special-Sunday dinners like Easter or someone’s birthday. Let’s say Jesus shows up.
We’d be at my brother-and-sister-in-laws’ house. It’s always immaculate, no pre-cleaning needed. Dan is into hospitality and cooking, so the appetizers would already be out and there’d be plenty of time to socialize. The main course would almost be ready.
Jesus might speak now or just meet the folks and impress with how much He knows about us, hosts included.
Eventually, it’d be time. Everyone would help swap in the dinner dishes, and we’d pick our spots. Good food and some light conversation would be served.
As the eating winds down, the serious talking builds up. Again, it’s all hands clearing the table (or as many can fit in the not-overly-large kitchen).
We then play a sort of social musical chairs, switching every now and then to catch up with everyone. There’d be dessert. Yum.
I can hear Jesus gradually getting the whole group’s attention. He’d’ve grabbed the spinny chair that’s right in between the dining and sitting halves of the room. He’d slowly turn every now and then, catching eyes intently.
After a while, His voice would be the only sound, into the wee hours…