Mary and Martha – a well-known story in the Bible involving two sisters, a party and a high-profile guest. Since I can remember, I have regarded Mary as the heroine of the story. She put everything aside to simply sit at the feet of Jesus, giving Him her full, unadulterated attention. She listened, without distraction, taking the form of a student and receiving wisdom from the Great Teacher.
Surely, I wanted to be like her and I was her. Not that terrible woman, Martha, running around like a chicken with her head cut off, doing ALL the things at the same time – cooking, cleaning, putting her face on, getting washed up, answering the door, setting the table – who knows what ALL she was attempting to do to create an inviting atmosphere for her guests. As I have gotten older, I can empathize with Martha because at many times I have become her.
Poor Martha! Left abandoned to do ALL the things. Responsible for ALL the people. Jesus, of all people, was her invited guest. Personally, I cannot imagine the pressure of the excellence that she surely wanted to showcase in her hospitality and serving. Now aren’t those interesting words? Serving and hospitality, things we are commanded to do by Scripture. Christ Himself had JUST taught these principles in the Parable of the Good Samaritan just a few verses prior to – dealing with serving your neighbor.
The problem with Martha was not that she was serving or being hospitable or desiring to be the hostess with the mostess and put something together with excellence. The problem is that she was DISTRACTED. Vs. 40 says “But Martha was distracted with much serving.” Periespato used here is translated as distracted and denotes someone that is pulled in many directions. Chicken-with-her-head-cut-off-distracted.
Just hand me the name-tag, “Hello, My Name is Martha” because if I am not careful, I AM Martha. I can become Martha while I am doing the work of the Lord – that He has asked me to do. I am putting premiums on service, hospitality and ministering to others.
I am trying to advance His Kingdom, yet I can grow distracted.
I want to invest in my family, yet I am distracted.
I want to grow a business, yet I am distracted.
Running from one good thing to the next and immersed right in where the Lord has called me to be, I can miss Him! He wants to walk into my home and have me sit at His feet, but am I too distracted to notice with all the good I am doing?
The Refresh Retreat in April is carved out time to lay down all the good things I find myself involved in and focus on the presence of the Lord. It is a time to surrender my “Martha Name Tag” and symbolically put on the garment of Mary, of praise and adoration. It is a time I sit at the feet of Jesus to hear from the Lord and link arms with other women who might find themselves in a Martha world, but desperately desiring to get what Mary had — an understanding that if I am anxious and troubled about many things, I am missing the most important thing and that is the person of Jesus.
Can you lay down all you find yourself to be anxious and concerned with – endless emails, calendar pressures and deadlines, maybe the weight of motherhood and all the things you are holding onto for dear life? Join me in April as we spend two days in Dallas striving to listen without distraction. I love what Matthew Henry shares in His commentary on this story. “We must either sit at Christ’s feet or be made his footstool; but, if we sit with him at his feet now, we shall sit with him on his throne shortly.” I desperately want it to be said of me, like Mary, she set aside her distraction and chose the better thing! Will you join me?!
About Taylor Quintini
Taylor and her husband, Jeremy, live just outside of Baton Rouge. Jeremy is the Executive Pastor at Journey Church and Taylor loves to minister alongside of him. She is also the owner of Weddings Taylor Made, a wedding & event planning company (www.weddingstaylormade.com), and co-owner of a specialty rental business (www.timelessvintagerentals.com). She serves on the Refresh team and she does all of this while making sure her four littles (all 5 and under) are loved, fed, clothed, and clean (repeat). Taylor is a natural leader; her heart is passionate for the Lord and she has a strong desire to share Him with others.