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[Martha vs. Mary]
by Marsha Jordan of Hugs and Hope Club
One of my favorite Bible stories is about two sisters. My own sister and I relate to this story, because we are such opposites. We had to share a bedroom for years and it was torture for us because we were like the odd couple. Cleaning to me meant shoving the moldy sandwiches under the bed.
My sister, on the other hand, bleached the ceiling on a daily basis. But that’s another story.
Back to the Biblical sisters. Martha was a conscientious, committed, and hard working perfectionist — as I was when I first got married, (before I stopped cleaning my windows and cooking real meals). She was a dynamo who got things done and they were done right. Her accomplishments were obvious to those around her, and I’m sure she enjoyed the praise and appreciation of people. She was one of those "type A" super mom, wonder woman personalities that you love to hate because they are sooooooooooo perfect. You know the kind – washing the dishes before the family’s finished eating, and getting up early to vacuum the hair from the bathroom floor before she even eats breakfast. Martha was the type of woman who would never have left for church with her family room looking like a cyclone had touched down there.
Martha’s sister Mary was her opposite. A constant source of irritation and frustration to Martha, Mary was just WAY too relaxed. Even when there was dirty laundry to beat on the river rocks and grain to grind and bake, Mary was calm and laid back. She didn’t get excited when the dog tracked mud in on the new carpet and she was not concerned if there were fingerprints on the glass patio doors. Well, okay, they didn’t have carpeting or glass doors then; but you know what I mean! Mary just didn’t keep things the way Martha liked them. That made Martha angry and resentful. She wanted things the way she wanted things! (Does that selfish attitude remind you of anyone?) Martha thought her sister was lazy and not doing her share. It upset Martha that Mary didn’t care about really important things, like getting supper on the table at exactly the same time every night and having all the canned vegetables in alphabetical order.
If you’ve read this story, you know I’ve exaggerated it a bit; but you also know which sister was more pleasing to God. Yep, that would be Mary. Her desire was not to get things done or make things look good – in fact her desire was not to "do" anything. Mary desired just to "be" with her Lord.
And that’s what He desired too. I’m so glad this story is in the Bible because it reminds me that I don’t have to work to earn God’s great mercy and love. Hallelujah! Thank God He loves me no matter what my abilities (or disabilities) are.
When I was younger and healthier, I was more of a human doing than a human being. I was involved in every available church project. Then I got sick. Due to debilitating fatigue, migraines, and chronic muscle and joint pain, I had to stop everything. And I felt guilty. I discovered that — until that time — my self esteem had hinged on what I could do. Now unable to do anything, I felt unworthy and unlovable. Sadly, some Christians added to my guilt by making me feel that I wasn’t doing my share of "church work."
What a relief it was when I realized that God didn’t judge me as harshly as those Christians did. He didn’t share their unrealistic expectations. He accepts and loves me even when I am unable to get out of bed or dress myself! All He expects is for me to return the love He lavishes on me. I’m free from striving to do more and more. How comforting to just relax in God’s unconditional love!
"I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever." (Psalm 52:8)
Visit Marsha’s website and let her inspire you to do good no matter what your circumstances are.