As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
I’m a Martha. I see things that need to be done all around me. I’m a maker of to do lists that often become lists within lists. I like the check off aspect of those lists, but they are often daunting. There’s a perpetual sticky stuck to my computer with things to do, paperwork to start, emails to send, volunteers to find, laundry to do, cleaning to begin, closets to go through … I want to get it done, to say it’s finished, to have that sense of accomplishment.
I come to Jesus with my to do list too. I want Him to fix things. I want Him to sort some things out. I want answers to questions that have persisted for years. I want a heavenly checkmark to appear in the box. Then I can move on to other things.
Tonight I was a box checker. I showed up at my Bible study with an empty heart. The demands of the week have taken the energy reserves I had. But I knew that I needed to go. I wanted to go too. These people have loved on me and cared for me in deep and meaningful ways. I’ve missed being there, a part of the community. The list couldn’t come. It was time to be Mary.
I’m not a Mary very often. Being a Mary usually happens when I’m on the verge of collapse. My Mary moments are then recovery moments. Find a way to cope moments not bask in His presence moments. I looked at my group experience tonight and wondered why I had come. The tank of engagement was empty.
As I drove home under a giant moon, the balm to my soul appeared in the lyrics of a song. Where I Belong is not about the checklist, not about the community, not about job requirements or expectations. The place I am called to be is in His presence. If I am there, I belong. If I am in His presence, I am abiding. If I am in His presence, the striving takes a back seat and His peace calms the storms of my heart. He delights when I come. He relishes the times when I stop and sit with Him. He delights in me.
He understands the Martha-ness of my personality. But He longs for the Mary-ness that is possible in me.