Martha had a party to prepare. Crowds would be swarming her house expected to be fed. They would need places to sit and ways to eat. The house had to be cleaned and organized. Food had to be prepped and cooked and then the mess cleaned up afterwards.
Guests arrived a few at a time. Martha made certain they had everything they needed. She ran around the house picking up dishes, cleaning spaces, and replacing food. Nobody would ever complain that Martha slacked off on her hosting requirements.
She made her umpteenth lap through the house to gather used dishes when she noticed her sister. While Martha worked to keep the guests content, her sister just lounged around enjoying the company.
“Jesus!” Martha got his attention from across the room. “Could you tell her to do something?”
Jesus smiled at Mary and then he looked up at Martha with a softer smile. “Martha, you are distracted with much serving.”
I have been there. The distractions of much serving can be enticing. Being busy makes me look good. Being responsible makes me look important. Sometimes the business keeps me from the better things.
I used to run around trying to make my home “right” before guests arrived – usually investing several days in a deep clean. I would feel guilty and spend half of my visit with guests apologizing for the mess if the cleaning was not completed.
Two lessons broke me of that.
The first came from a cousin of my husband. She was the first to arrive at our house blessing celebration and she caught me scrambling around trying to finish up the cleaning. “If they are coming to see a perfect house then they aren’t worth bothering with.” She then taught me the art of hiding those last piles.
The second came during a bible study. I had cleaned, dusted, mopped, washed, dried, folded, and any other task I could imagine. Things were perfect. We sat around the table sharing and laughing and I looked up behind one the guests to see a MASSIVE spider web hanging from the ceiling. Nobody else noticed because we were laughing and sharing and enjoying the company. Things were not perfect in my home, but the sharing of hearts said otherwise.
I have worked hard to take those lessons and apply them to my life. Whatever I do or encounter in my life has to be about more than an action or activity. Relationships take the priority.
“Love God and Love others and everything else will fall into place.” Jesus again reminded the people around Him that the business would not make a lasting difference.
Yes, we do need to plan.
Yes, we do need to prepare.
Yes, we do need to practice.
Investing in these before will make it easier to relax and enjoy when the time arrives.