November 1, 2020
Now as they went on their own way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Martha had a sister named Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so, she came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:38-42
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by life and then I can get resentful and short if I don’t take time to breathe and spend time within Christ’s presence and peace. Like Mary, I need to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen.
Thursday afternoon the internet connection disappeared at our church. I panicked. I need the internet to write and send out this meditation, I need the world wide web to help lead our Sunday zoom church, and I need to check and answer my emails. I am quite certain our national security depends on me answering my emails!
After a late night trip to Cortez to buy a wireless router which I discovered had no written directions, after three phone calls to Netgear to try to connect the router, after I ended up disconnected from two of the three phone calls to Netgear, after I called Century Link four times on Friday morning only to be put on “hold” for eternity, after each technician told me that they could get me a new modem by Monday or Tuesday, I screamed (in my mind), “Don’t you care? I have things to do!” Their collective answer (spoken in their minds), “No, not really.” Click.
Much like dear wonderful Martha who is preparing a meal for Jesus, are we ever “worried and distracted by many things”? Do we ever do good things like making a meal or caring for a friend but we are resentful? There just is not enough time in the day for us to get everything done and as the time passes by, we get more and more anxious. Life can be so unfair; we cannot do everything.
Martha is working like a dog in the kitchen while her sister, Mary, sits idly at Jesus’ feet, soaking in all His wisdom. Martha’s teapot is overflowing with resentment. I believe she yells at Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”
I yearn for the carefree days of summertime youth when all I had to do was play baseball in the morning, pick fresh apples off the tree, and go swimming with friends in the afternoon. But we grow up and become adults and “major responsibilities fall on our shoulders,” says Father Ron Rolheiser.
“Like the biblical Martha, the supper gets cooked only if we do the cooking and the mortgage gets paid only if we earn the money. We are in charge. We are responsible. We carry the car keys, the house keys, and the debt for both.”
How many keys do we carry? Every key means more responsibility.
Rolheiser writes that sometimes life feels like we are on a treadmill that we cannot step off from. The faster we go; the crazier life gets. Even though our days might be full and meaningful “it is easy to feel burdened, taken for granted, unappreciated, and used by others.”
Like Martha it is so easy to feel resentful because we seem to be doing all the work while others like Mary are getting a free ride. Jesus tells Martha to be still and enjoy life like her sister Mary. What? Who has time to “Lie down” in green pastures and look at the clouds or sit by a babbling brook? There’s work to be done Jesus!
Resentment can weigh us down for long periods of time during our adult years. Rolheiser says, “Instead of gratitude we feel resentment and instead of joy we feel anger.” We get so driven to get things done that we are often unaware of how rich, full, and yes, possibly enjoyable our tasks are. Can we imagine making a meal and sitting down to enjoy it with Jesus? Our family? Our friends?
“One of the demons we wrestle with during our adult years is the resentment of Martha, that is, joylessness bordering on anger for, ironically, being burdened with the privilege of health, work, and status,” writes Rolheiser.
Our longest period of life is being an adult which means carrying many responsibilities, a lot of keys. It is tough and it can be overwhelming. We need to learn to set firm boundaries and say yes and no to what we can and cannot do with love. Jesus set boundaries. He fed, healed, listened, and restored people and when Jesus got tired, He stopped and went to a quiet place to be still and restore His soul. Why would we be any different?
By the Grace of God, we need to learn to do our work with great love and when we get tired or find ourselves getting resentful, we need to learn to sit a Jesus’ feet and soak in all of God’s grace, peace, and wisdom.
May we carry our keys with grace and patience.
May we take time to restore our souls through the Love of Christ.
Peace be still,