Saturday, October 28, 2006

What is of real importance

In the story of Martha and Mary from Luke 10 I often feel more sympathetic to Martha than to Mary. I’m a recovering perfectionist and when I entertain I want everything to be just right. The dishes are polished, the food tastes wonderful, there’s never an empty glass during the discussion after the dinner and more. But sometimes I miss the conversation when I do this. And what’s really important, being with my friends or having the perfect service of food?

And this is what the story of Mary and Martha is about. What is nice and what is important?

Martha’s not a bad person and her ideas aren’t that far off. She wants to make things go well for her guests. The problem is she forgets about paying attention to what the guests are saying. Still, I really resonate with her. I keep going, how many times have I done just that, keep going about the tasks. I think, and why can’t I be like Mary paying attention to the relationship.

Yes the needs for food and housing are important. We need people who are gracious hosts, preparing beds and meals and cleaning up and laundry and the multitude of tasks that are part of hospitality, but we need to ask why do we want to be hospitable. We should be asking what is of real importance, what is the better task. If we don't we may miss out.

Luke 10:38-42

[38] Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. [39] She had a sister named Mary who sat at the Lord=92s feet and listened to what he was saying. [40] But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." [41] But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; [42] there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."

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