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Mary or Martha: In response to Christs desire to linger and rest

This is one of my favorite pictures, scripture stories, and thoughts to ponder.  In response to Al's home where Christ would want to linger, I thought of this.

There was dinner to get on the table.  A primary lesson to prepare, kids to care for, visiting teaching reports to do, and the missionaries to feed- to top it off the Missionaries had sent word with little John, that they were bringing The Savior and his apostles.  Martha turned to the cupboard, wondering what to feed a crowd of 20.  Wouldn't you know, they had eaten the last of the pita and hummus for lunch and so she would also need to run to the market.  Then she looked over her home, normally orderly, but not today.    She didn't finish the dishes that morning because Anna, one of the temple workers wasn't feeling well and she was called last minute to sub for her.  They had sent around that helpful papyrus last week in relief society about how to maintain a home, and she had been doing so well, but of course- today of all days, the world would see her failure.  Here comes the crowd now, she could hear the streets buzzing with excitement.  The healer, the prophesied Messiah was headed toward her home.  

Mary ran to the door, then out across the garden to the rock wall surrounding their property.  Martha shook her head, "Will that girl ever learn to be lady like?"  Mary had lived with her sister for several years now, helping with the children and house work, but some times Martha wondered if she was raising her right.  
What had mother done to teach her?  Love, Hard work and Discipline, yep that was the answer.  Martha nodded to herself.  She would have to be more strict with the girl.  She owed it to her mother.  
"Mary, come in here.  I need help with the preparations."
"I will be right in, but oh Martha, isn't it exciting, the Savior of the world is coming to our home, Martha, Martha, I could squeal I am so happy!"  
"Yes, yes, Mary it is wonderful. "
"Could you bring some water in from the well on your way in to the house, please."  
Martha didn't wait for a reply, she had already turned toward the house, again thinking of the things that needed to be done.  On the way in, she noticed the dirty hand prints on the wall next to the garden, and the weeding that hadn't been finished.  With Lazarus's illness, the home maintenance had fallen to her and Mary.  There were creaky doors, broken shingles, untrimmed trees, and chipped paint.  There wasn't time to get to all of that, before he came.  She just hoped he wouldn't notice. She glanced up again to check on the burgeoning crowd. 
Lazarus was leading the throng.  Ever since Jesus had raised him from the dead, he had become somewhat of a local celebrity.  As she stopped to think of the miracle of that day, tears came to her eyes.  She had witnessed the Savior crying for her pain, for her families loss, for her brothers death.  He had then gone to the tomb to raise him from the dead and with that example taught a powerful sermon of his own death and Resurrection.  She brushed the tears from her cheeks.
What was wrong with her.  The great miracle worker was coming to her home, and she was standing around crying.  "Back to work, Martha, back to work." she thought to herself as she hurried up the path.  She would have to send one of the older children to the market for the needed supplies.  There just wasn't time to go her self.  As she was giving the final instructions to Ruth her 10 year old daughter, she thought of the blind man, that she had noticed earlier that day.  "Please bring Jacob, the blind begger at the end of the street.  He can sup with us tonight."
Ruth ran off,  her purse jingling and her pig tails bouncing behind her.  Martha cherished Ruth.  She was such a sweet child.  She knew that when the Savior taught of the children, he was surely speaking of her own dear Ruth.  Ruth with pure faith and perfect obedience.
But, no time to think of that, it is time to get back to work.  she thought.  She quickly did up the dishes in the pan and dried them.  Her thoughts turned to one of the recent parables that had been taught.  How could she  as a shepherd bring the one sheep back to the fold?  This sister had been lost for so long.  She had grown up with such a hard life.  Loosing her family and becoming an orphan.  Then turning to selling herself just to eat.  She had become a mother so young.  And now with another baby on the way, how would she make it.  If only they could get her to come back to church, If she could teach her of virtue.  If she could help her understand the atonement.  Martha knew that she would be blessed by her testimony and faith.  Then Martha prayed that she could be that kind of sheperd.
As she set the table, she started to wonder where Mary had gone off to.  She peeked in to the living room, where Lazarus, Jesus, and his apostles had settled themselves.  Little John was right there, next to Jesus.  She could see the love that he had for Jesus.  Often she had heard Jesus refer to him as beloved.  As her eyes swept across the room she could see each story replayed in her minds eye, of how the savior had changed their lives.  From Lazarus, being raised from the dead to Peter being called to be a fisher of men.   They each had a story.  They each had a change of heart.  As she looked again, she caught sight of Mary.  With all of this work to do, there was Mary, sitting at Jesus's feet, hanging on his every word.  As an 18 year old, she was practically a woman.  "How could she leave me like this?" Martha thought 
Martha kept trying to get Mary's attention from across the room. 
Mary was always shirking her duties.  She should have been the one to run to the market or finish up the dishes.  As Martha tried to discreetly coax her sister away, the Savior asked Martha what was the matter.  Martha tried to explain about all that must be done, before they could eat.  "Please get her to help me."  Martha begged with a final plea of desperation.  She was sure that he would be on her side.  She knew that after the long walk, he would be hungry and tired.  He must have been anxious to eat and go to bed.  It was just six days until the Passover, and there was still so much to be done before the great celebration.  
But, she was shocked when she heard his reply.  "Martha, you are so busy.  You worry about so many things.  But there is only one thing you should be thinking about right now."
Then pointing at Mary, he said, "Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Tears burned in Marthas eyes.  She knew he was right.  The spirit had been telling her this all day.   The only begotten son of God was in her home, and she had been worrying about fingerprints and dishes.  She kneeled at his feet looked in his eyes and knew he had forgiven her, and that he was pleased with her change of heart.

Some times in our busy lives the dishes or tidying can get away from us, but Jesus doesn't mind, as long as we choose "that good part".  I love that he says it will not be taken away from us.  

I challenge you to "Choose that good part".
With love,

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Jo,
    That was just what I needed. I guess in the grand scheme of things It's not the end of the world if there are those weeks where my house is less than perfect, as long as I am choosing to come closer to Him.
    Love You!


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