My wife and I love to host people in our home. We enjoy cooking for people, playing cards, watching movies, or just sitting and visiting. There is something about having people in our home that makes us feel very content and blessed. That said, we have very different methods of entertaining our guests once they arrive. Although it has caused tension over the years, it is interesting at just how similar our patterns are to those of Mary and Martha.
When I know people are coming over, I busy myself getting everything in the house just right. I want the floors swept and vacuumed. I don’t want there to be any dirty dishes in the sink. Bathrooms need to be sparkling and candles need to be lit. Once our guests arrive, I very easily transition from preparing the home to hosting our guests. It doesn’t matter if it is your first time to come over or your 50th, I feel the responsibility to make you feel comfortable and welcomed. I worry the food won’t be ready at the time I promised. I worry the food won’t taste good and our guests will feel uncomfortable. Even while the guests are still in our home visiting, I start to clean up after people. Suffice it to say, I stay busy from before our guests arrive until after they have left.
Sadly, my wife will sometimes reference something that was said during the course of the evening that was funny, and I have no idea what she is talking about because I missed it. There are so many times I miss the “moments” because I am in entertaining mode. I miss the relational gold in exchange for the dust of busyness.
My wife is the opposite. Don’t get me wrong, she appreciates a clean home and well-prepared food, but not at the expense of the people. She loves to sit at the table and visit. She can easily lose track of time, because she is intrigued by a conversation. She laughs a lot during the course of the evening because she is engaged. She actually has a deeper relationship with our guests when they leave because she busied herself towards them relationally as a friend, rather than towards them as a hostess.
I often realize after our guests have left that my wife “chooses the better portion.”
Is it possible that you are so busy doing good things that you are actually missing out on the best things? Today, before you go any further, evaluate the speed at which you are flying through your life. Think through the schedule you keep and the relationships that may be suffering as a result. Consider your spiritual life. Are you so busy serving Jesus that you have failed to just sit at the table with him?
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
— Luke 10:38–42