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May
05

Mary and Martha

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Thinking about Sabbath and time and pressing schedules reminded me of a great story in Luke’s gospel. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus is visiting in the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. It’s a simple thing, probably just conversation about the Old Testament Scriptures or the Kingdom of God or something like that. The scene is one of Jesus and Mary deep in conversation. In the kitchen, Martha is scurrying around to prepare a meal.

Martha was task oriented, like most of us are I suppose, but she couldn’t stand the fact that Mary had stopped all activity in favor of talking with Jesus. She was so upset she went to Jesus and demanded that he encourage Mary to get up and help. Jesus must have smiled as he lovingly rebuked Martha for being so concerned about her temporal provisions and feeble attempt to impress.

Thinking about this caused me to realize that Martha’s question is not about Mary. Neither is her concern about Jesus. It’s all about Martha.

I think it’s our self absorption that hinders us from achieving simplicity. Much of our time is spent creating an image that says we are successful, we have it together, and above all, we are not slackers. We look down on others who we don’t perceive as working hard. We hold them in contempt and label them as unmotivated and unproductive. Sabbath is designed to help us break the cycle of self importance and image projection. Choosing to apply the principles of Sabbath into the pacing of our lives allows us, like Mary, to choose the greater things.

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