Being A Mary In A Martha World
In the kitchen
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Mary and Martha’s reality was quite different than ours. They had no refrigeration so they had to prepare meals individually — no preparing casseroles and freezing them for later. They didn’t go to the grocery store to buy their food. They raised their own fruits and veges and even their own meat. They dealt with a level of dirt in their homes as normal that we would frown on. The thought of someone walking in our home with feet so dirty that it was considered a normal part of hospitality to not only wash their feet but part of being a good guest was to allow their feet to be washed. Their everyday lives were different than ours.
Our lives, on the other hand, are not necessarily better, just different. We have many advances that allow us live less labor intensive lives but we have filled the void creating our own struggles. We have many, many choices that have not been available to any other people in any other time. We can eat just about any food grown anywhere in the world at any time. Growing seasons mean nothing to us. Want an orange? Or an apple? It is always available. Instead of growing our own animals for meat, we just drive in our air conditioned car to the grocery store to buy the exact type and quantity of meat we want.
These choices are wonderful. They can also cause an amount of stress and oddly enough, an amount of uncertainty. When people depended on the land and the limited resources that were immediately available, life was predictable. Food was seasonal. There were not many choices so there were not many decisions one had to make.
I remember reading Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Their life was simple, predictable. While I know it was not always as perfect as Mrs Wilder made it appear, it sounds so pleasant. Living off the land. Getting close to nature. But that’s not real life. We live today. Our problems are real to us. It is ours to learn to live graciously while dealing with what is at hand.
We live in a Martha world. Lots of busyness going on. Some is absolutely necessary. Much is not. Whether we are a young mom living up to the “hot mess” mentality with a good dose of Pinterest guilt. Or maybe we’re a middle aged woman trying to keep up with new technology but really just wanting to slow down and enjoy life a little more. Or even a young unmarried who loves the freedom of my life but would also like a family of my own. Don’t forget those who have lived here the longest and are feeling the effects of a long life on the body and on the mind. We are all, to some extent, suffering from time restraints, health restraints, responsibility restraints. We all would like to be a Mary who feels no guilt at dropping everything to serve, worship, spend time with God. We all feel the pull of the Martha within us and our responsibilities that need to be dealt with. How can we be a Mary while still fulfilling our Martha duties?
Decisions, Decisions. That’s what our lives are filled with. What needs to be done? What deserves our attention? What wastes our time? So, what can we do about it? Let’s talk tonight about what we can specifically do in our kitchen to give us back more of our time, take away some of the daily decisions, create an efficient kitchen so we can be a Mary.
What are some things you have learned to do to keep your kitchen running efficiently?
What are some ways you prepare your kitchen to be ready for impromptu hospitality?
What are some meals you know you can fix at a moment’s notice?