Last week, one of the Gospel readings included Mary and Martha–a story that has always troubled me a little. I want to be Mary at Jesus’s feet, but inside I’m Martha, as I think most Americans are.
Luke 10:38-42 New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus Visits Martha and Mary
38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
When this Gospel reading comes up in the liturgical year, you can see people squirming in the pews a little. After all, we’re all about getting things done and to many of us, we want to complain just as Martha did that those around us aren’t pulling their weight.
For an INFJ, this is particularly true. INFJs are incredibly compassionate and empathetic people, but we are also consummate doers. We love our To-Lists, and we knock them out faster and better than anyone else. We would never say it out loud, but we have a tendency to look down on other mere mortals who aren’t capable of doing as well or as fast as we can.
For us INFJs, rest and quiet are Holy Grail of our spirituality, a continuous struggle to master and incorporate into our lives. That’s only exacerbated by an American culture that glorifies our ability to get ‘er done.
I recently subscribed to Faithbox. As a Financial Peace University student, I generally avoid subscriptions, but this was a gift to myself for achieving some personal development goals. I chose Faithbox because it was a monthly reminder of where my focus should be and because there is a private Faithbox community on Facebook for ongoing support.
When I subscribed, my first box would be November, but I chose to order the October box as well, because the theme for the month was Grace, which I could use right now. In this phase of my life, I’m trying to establish a rhythm for my life that includes Sabbath rest–not an easy task for me. The only way I will ever achieve it is through God’s infinite Grace.
Thankfully, the book included in the October Faithbox couldn’t be more perfect. As I read and reflect on Keri Weems’s Rhythms of Grace, I’m gaining insight into what Jesus was trying to tell Martha and how I too can focus on that “one thing worth being concerned about.”
Of course, it doesn’t take stellar observations skills to see that I’m not the only one struggling with this. We Americans live at a frantic pace that robs us of our peace and our connectedness.
We’re so busy running in and out that we don’t know our neighbors. We’re do busy getting our work done that we don’t get to know our co-workers. We’re so busy getting through the checkout line that we forget to connect with the person checking us out.
But Jesus teaches us there’s a better way. When we have the chance to connect and be with someone, it’s worth letting the work wait until later to be present in that moment, because life is about those moments. Teaching our inner Martha to let go can make our life richer and more meaningful.
What is your inner Martha struggling with today?
Peace & Blessings!