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Advent Awakenings


Feuding with Martha and Mary

April 03, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Feuding with Mary and Martha

This social distancing and Safer at home have conjured up in me an internal feud.  I know this is what has to be, but it’s tough at times.

What am I supposed to be doing now?  Believe it or not there was a time when I longed to be more like Mary, just having some time to rest at the feet of Jesus.  I was even involved in a book study several years ago titled, “Having a Mary heart in a Martha world”.  Well now it seems I’ve found myself in a Mary world wondering, “What should Martha be doing?” 

I pulled out my Bible, so I could read this passage of Mary and Martha again, to see if I could gain any clear insights as to what it was I might be wrestling with.  There it was in vs 40 “Martha was distracted with much”.  I don’t think it matters if we are a Martha or Mary, distraction plays its part in what we are called to do and what we actually end up doing.  At least for me it does.  And especially now.   So when Jesus responds to Martha with “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled with many things, one thing is needful and Mary has chosen the good portion.”   I want to believe that what he meant was “Know your purpose”.  What are you being called to at this moment in time?

So what is “my portion”?  For me I think that it is this:  awareness, combined with compassion which can equal a call to action.  Compassion wells up in me when I watch the news and see both the sadness, and the good that is flooding the airways due to this recent health crisis.  I am moved to tears with the pain and kindness shown by people all over our nation.  Also, when I hear of friends and family losing jobs and struggling to keep small businesses open, my heart aches because we’ve experienced that too.   I realize it’s okay to be Mary for a bit, sitting at the feet of Jesus, but then I need to get moving and become Martha; moving outside myself to do something. 

So now when I pray, I ask God for direction into where He might need to use me today and then I work to be attuned to the people and needs that show up in my day instead of the agenda I’ve prepared for my day.    I suppose it’s a somewhat safe prayer for me now, given what I can do is limited, however I have had opportunities to reach out; as well as opportunities to say thank you to those essential workers providing us with mail delivery, food and healthcare.   I’ve been connected with family and friends through Z00M, FACETIME and strangers, with a wave or smile.  So I guess for me at this place in time, I find myself praying these words:  Jesus, take away the distraction that I may lean more closely into you like Mary so, the Martha in me will know what to do. 

I can only hope that Jesus will respond and say, “Jodie you have chosen the good portion”.