Like Martha, much of my life in ministry has been centered around being behind the scenes – in the office, in the kitchen, setting up tables, calling repair persons, helping with phones and making copies – essentially doing the busy work that needs to be done. Sometimes, like Martha, I’ve felt the need to simply be sitting in meditation and study in God’s presence, but there’s always so much busy work to be done. I empathize with Martha. I’ve walked in her shoes many, many times in my journey.
When Martha complains, Jesus rebukes her, saying “you are worried and distracted by many things…there is need of only one thing.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure what that one thing is. What is the better part that Mary has chosen? Is Martha being rebuked because she compared herself to Mary? Is Jesus telling Martha it’s better to sit, meditate and study at His feet?
Truthfully, I don’t really know, for like Martha, I know that there is still so much work to be done. It’s hard not to worry about the work. We are trying to assure ourselves that everyone is being served and made comfortable.
Maybe you are like Martha and me. You operate behind the scenes. You go to church, and end up doing the busy work that needs to be done instead of sitting down and simply experiencing worship. You greet people, lend a hand at coffee hour, make copies, unlock doors, assist with microphones, unplug a toilet…all the little things we need to do at church that take us away from hearing the scripture and receiving the word.
Maybe sometimes you simply want to sit in the pews, listening to the preacher, singing the hymns, and passing the peace. This feeling is normal and you are not alone. But we are in this ministry together, finding that balance between serving the other and worshiping our God. Maybe that balance is the “better part” that Mary has chosen.
Maybe together we will learn that there really isn’t a “better part” at all. It’s only a matter of shifting our perspective.
May God bless this meditation. Amen.