Sunday, September 28, 2008

Martha Or Mary?

Listening to my mom moan and groan over her housechores while I'm sitting in my room learning worship songs on the guitar reminds me of a sermon our pastor gave a little over a year ago.

In a nutshell, the topic was: Are you a Martha or a Mary?

A Martha, he explained, is someone who works their fingers to the bone constantly without acknowledging God in their daily life. They're too busy hustling and bustling around the house or the office to sit at Christ's feet and just listen.

In contrast, a Mary is someone who does take time away to spend with God- maybe a little too much time- to the point where they're alone with God so much it impairs their daily life and effectiveness at reaching others.

Right now, my mom is a Martha. She's tired, achy, and irritated with her housework. I suggested she take a break and read her Bible for a while to chill her out, but this was her response: "I don't have time right now. I have to get this done."

Really, Mom. The antique buffet HAS to be dusted RIGHT NOW? Will the world end if you don't get the dishwasher loaded tonight?

I worry about her, I really do. I know she's just trying to be a good mom and keep the house from spiraling into grime-filled, lime-damaged chaos, but I personally think she takes it too far. She never stops. I help her out when I can, but truth be told I'm almost never around enough. She hasn't picked up her Bible at all lately. I had to give her my notes from Bible study last week just so she could brush up on Philippians. I don't want my mom to be worked to death, doing things around the house that can wait a day. I'm not saying she should be lazy or anything- she's a diligent worker and that's much appreciated- but she told me herself that she puts God inside a box for the day and just doesn't take Him out. I want to see her start putting her work on hold for once for some quality time with God during the day. I don't want her to become a "Sunday morning" Christian.

On the other end of the spectrum, I've put my homework and chores on hold for a few hours while I sit here with my Bible and guitar. Yeah, I'm a procrastinator. I tend to get lazy in my "earthly" work. I'll put my entire life on hold, shut myself in my room for the day, and spend time in the Word. While that sounds like a good thing, there are serious cons to this, too. I don't get out in the world enough. I shut myself in a hole. Sometimes I don't get my work done at all. My relationships with others becomes impaired. This isn't healthy either.
Too often I find myself neglecting the things I need to do to spend time with God.

So this is what I've learned: people need the best of both worlds. We can't work 100% of our lives, but we can't live 100% of our lives physically on our knees, either. God put us on the earth to "be in the world, but not of the world." We have God-given work we need to complete while we're here. He commanded us to work diligently. At the same time, our whole life should be a prayer, an act of worship. Worship and prayer isn't just something that you do in church or in your room. It's bringing constant praise to God in whatever you do and staying in constant communication with God as well. Along with that, we need our quiet alone times with God. In working diligently to glorify God and staying in constant communication with Him, we become the best of Martha and Mary.

We need balance, especially now that school has started. Pray for balance- not only for you, but for those around you as well. Believe me, others need it too.

In Christ always,

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