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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Todd White - Not Enough Persecution and "Now Mary - Now Martha!"


"Now Mary - Now Martha!"

  • Author Linda Fitzgerald

While downstairs for a lunch break (ah, peanut butter passion ice cream!), it occurred to me to talk about "Mary and Martha".

Now don’t ask me why. The thought just occurred to me. But I think it has something to do with the Odds/Ends I first talked about here earlier this a.m. You know, the task-oriented vs the not so task-oriented (or something like that). (Continued below......)

(....Continued....)I’m sure most of you know a little something about Mary & Martha. Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus were all close friends of Jesus. Not only was he their friend, but he was their Rabboni (means ‘teacher’ in Hebrew). They lived in Bethany, a small village within a days walk of Jerusalem. Whenever Jesus needed a break, he would drop by their home just to chat, eat, relax and recoup his energy.

The two women were dramatically different. Martha, the type-A personality with anal tendencies and a slight persecution complex, would have a "dither-fit". Clean house, do laundry, kill the fatted calf and generally set about taking care of the domestic needs required to entertain the "teacher". I imagine she worked herself into a "dither" as she scurried about to make everything ‘perfect’ for their visitor.

Mary on the other hand, had a more other-worldly approach to life. She was studious, eager to learn, more in touch with her inner life and less concerned about domestic matters. Oh I’m sure she did what was required of her in preparation for his visit, but when he got there - forget cooking, cleaning or anything else remotely related to domestication. While Martha ’slaved’ in the kitchen, Mary was perfectly content to sit at his feet, pry him with questions about life and matters of the spirit while her sister ’slaved’ away.

Being a good anal persecutory personality as she was, Martha complained loudly about her sister’s lack of respect for her (Martha) by leaving the preparation to Martha alone to sit at Jesus’ feet and soak up his every word.

Can you blame Martha? There’s a job to be done and "oh my goodness, do I always have to do it by myself!" Spoken by a tried and true task-oriented woman who has little or no time for the ‘fluff’ of wasting time learning something new and exciting from the "teacher".

Martha must have proclaimed and complained loudly. Anyway, as the story goes, Jesus chided Martha for her uncharitable attitude toward her sister and gave Martha something profound to ‘chew on’. Basically his viewpoint was that "what difference is it to you, Martha, if your sister wants to focus on the things that make a true difference in life?"

Oh that must have boiled Martha’s blood! How dare he put her down in that way! After all, if it weren’t for her, he’d have nothing to eat or drink.

Now, what’s the moral or purpose for my retelling in modern context this ancient story? What occurs to me is that in each of us there is a Martha and a Mary! One to get the job done efficiently, effectively and in timely manner and one to take time to rest, relax, question, contemplate and take stock!

Last night, my "Martha" was on full display! Yes, I was typical "type-A"; somewhat "anal" and complained bitterly to ’self’ that I had to keep going over and over something with which I was quite comfortable and that time was ‘fleeting’ and nit-picking each word seemed a waste of time . . . etc, etc, etc!

Yet no one loves taking time to ’sit at the teacher’s feet’ and listen, contemplate and otherwise grow in wisdom, stature and hopefully ‘grace’. I love to learn new things. And I love to ‘vegetate’ from time to time - you know - do nothing. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

As I reflect on this conversation and what prompted it, I’m amused. I’m amused that in one human person, there can be so much contradiction. Before you think we’re not all included in this - please be advised that none of us gets a ‘pass’ on this one.

‘Tis true! There’s a Martha and a Mary in each of us. And that ‘ain’t bad. The key is knowing when it’s fully appropriate to let ‘Martha’ have her way and when it’s best to be a ‘Mary’.

And when in working with others, know which ‘lady’ ought to have the upper hand for the task at hand so that our human dealings will be one of cooperation, coordination and collaboration rather than a trip down ego-lane with Martha shouting from the kitchen while Mary turns a deaf ear.

Ah, just something to contemplate as we head into the weekend!

May it be awesome, love-filled and rich with great ’stuff’!

Linda S. Fitzgerald, M.S.Ed, has a passion for enriching, empowering and encouraging women to achieve their God-given destiny. 

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