We live in a society that celebrates our inner Marthas; we are affirmed for being productive, busy, and active. Our inner Marys, on the other hand, receive minimal, if any, encouragement. Taking time to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus is often seen as lazy, unproductive, and a waste of valuable time.
We all too easily identify with the overworked, irritated Martha. “Seems like I am always the one doing all the work,” we readily complain. And when Martha approaches Jesus to speak her mind, we cheer her on and say, “You go, girl!” We have been in her shoes and long to be acknowledged for our hours of unrecognized hard work.
However, as is often the case, Jesus turns our expectations upside down and inside out. Rather than encouraging Mary to get up and help, he encourages Martha to slow down and rest. Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are racing around like a chicken with its head cut off, distracted from what really matters. No need to worry so much about your ‘to do’ list. Mary has found the better way by slowing down and being present with me” (ap). Note that Jesus does not chastise Martha or tell her that her work is unimportant. He points out that she approaches her tasks with a spirit full of worry rather than full of an awareness of Jesus’ presence.
When we make time to sit at the feet of Jesus, even for just a moment, our souls are refreshed. We can then tend to our tasks full of assurance and trust rather than full of worry and distraction.
Gracious God, help me to release my inner Martha and embrace my inner Mary. Open my eyes so that I will know how to make time and space to sit at the feet of Jesus and to be filled with your calm and peace. Amen.
This reading from Amos provides more indication of the reasons for God’s coming judgment. Too many in Israel have been oppressing the poor. They cannot wait for religious festivals to end so that they can make more money through corrupt trade, including what we now call human trafficking. If we understand the psalmist to be David, the warning he issues in this passage concern Saul. Because Saul has turned to evil, God will not allow him to remain in power. While God is love, God also sometimes brings judgment. The author of Colossians extols the elevated status of Christ, who has reconciled us to himself through his death. In Luke, Mary prioritizes spending time with Jesus, while Martha focuses on working for Jesus. It is Mary who receives Jesus’ praise.
Read Amos 8:1-12. Who in your community has been left behind in the famine from hearing the words of the Lord? How can you care for them?
Read Psalm 52. How do you remain rooted in God’s steadfast love when you cry out against injustice?
Read Colossians 1:15-28. What do you need to let fall away to reveal the mystery of Christ in you?
Read Luke 10:38-42. How do you focus on Christ even as you attend to the necessary tasks of daily life?
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