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Martha, Martha. (Luke 10:41)
Most likely, Martha was already busy with her everyday chores when Jesus and the disciples arrived, but she cared too much to leave these travelers unattended. She just taxed herself even more. So when Martha snapped at Jesus for letting Mary sit at his feet while she slaved away, it was probably because she was already stressed out. Jesus knew this, and he didn’t mind. He loved Martha. He accepted her with all of her strengths and weaknesses. And with patience and gentleness, he spoke to her, aproned and anxious as she was, and challenged her to take a different view of Mary’s actions.
The issues weighing on Martha were important. But they did not eclipse the most important item: a relationship with God. All the things that Martha focused on needed to be done. But Martha was still learning that time spent in Jesus’ presence often brings the peace and clarity we need to accomplish necessary tasks more quickly and efficiently. Jesus didn’t fault her for not knowing that, but he did point it out in a way that she could hear and understand.
This is how Jesus deals with us as well: one step at a time. He gives us only as much as we can digest at once, even though it can sometimes feel as though we have swallowed an ice cube whole! Jesus takes us where we are and tries to move us one step closer to his vision for us. He isn’t put off by our lack of understanding, frustrations, or other weaknesses. He isn’t even upset when we chide him!
Jesus loves you just as much as he loved Martha. And with the same gentle, patient acceptance, he wants to meet you as you are, warts and all. He longs to draw you more deeply into his heart and life. You can trust that he will tell you the truth: about what’s important, about what needs to be done, about yourself. And as you choose to spend time in his presence, he will deepen your understanding of the life he calls you to. He will strengthen your faith and fill you with more of his love.
“Jesus, I want to love you and the people around me more deeply. I commit myself to sitting with you to learn how best I can do that.”
Jeremiah 14:17-22; Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13; John 11:19-27 (Alternate Gospel Reading)
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