There are few narratives in the Bible that are as endearing as Mary and Martha.
We’ve all been there. We are working our tails off and our sibling is sitting around doing nothing. It’s so frustrating. It drives us crazy. We want Mom or Dad to step in and make things fair.
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
It is such an honest passage. Even Jesus’ response is honest.
All of us struggle with our Martha and Mary selves. Most of the time the issue isn’t whether or not we choose to sit before Jesus or if we’re working too much. The reality is that most of us struggle to find rhythm. We work, work, work, work, and then cease working. What we need to find is a rhythm of work and rest.
Have you ever seen a grandfather clock? It only works right when the pendulum is in proper rhythm. When the pendulum stops the clock ceases to tell time. It is no longer able to carry out its purpose.
We are the same way. We need a work – rest rhythm. This is one of the reasons that God instituted the Sabbath. We need the explicit reminder of our need for rhythm. The beauty in this is that there is freedom to be Martha and to be Mary.
Where are you on the pendulum swing? Are you working too much? Resting too much? Are you in rhythm? Share your thoughts in the comments.