“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.”
So, we cleared up in Part One that Martha absolutely should have put down her cleaning supplies and sat at the feet of Jesus with Mary. Mary chose the best thing, and we want to, as well—so we intentionally choose to enjoy quiet time with God every day.
But we know that even if Martha had been able to forget her chores and choose to be with Him, the chores would still be waiting. I have to wonder what would’ve happened if Martha had been able to do some of her chores and lean on the Lord at the same time.
What if Martha would’ve done her chores with a happy heart? She could have sung praise songs in the kitchen while she cooked. She could have folded laundry in back of the room while listening to Jesus’ teaching. She could have settled in with Jesus after dinner, letting the dishes go until morning, and then woke up with songs of adoration on her lips as she washed those pots.
If she had, she certainly would not have had the put-upon feeling that caused her to ask Jesus to order Mary back into the kitchen. She might have been able to soak up Jesus’ love and teachings just as well as her sister. In addition, she would have had the wonderful feeling that she had been able to care for Jesus’ earthly needs.
We’d love to sit on the floor and play with our kids or grandkids all day, or simply relax in the presence of God for hours, but we know there are chores that need to be done. Much of the time, we have to choose to do our chores in order to take care of our family’s earthly needs. Our Lord, and our kids, understand that.
What matters to them is how we do them.
We can do them with an angry, frustrated, weary spirit, or we can choose the better thing for us and our families. We can do them with Jesus.
I mentioned in Organizing You that I draw little stars next to the items on my to-do list that can be done with little or no thought. I also shift my no-brainer chore cards a little bit to the right, so I can quickly identify them. While my hands are occupied with busywork, I can direct my thoughts and heart elsewhere. I can talk with my kids, talk with friends on the phone, listen to audio books, watch TV, or best of all, pray.
At the end of a quiet afternoon spent cleaning or putting away laundry, I can feel almost as relaxed as I would’ve if I’d sat and read my book, relaxed with my friends, or spent extra quiet time in prayer!
What can you do to make your busywork time a time of relaxation or even joy? How can you combine the wisdom of Mary with the responsibilities of Martha?
Take the challenge:
For the next week, circle or otherwise mark all of the items on your to-do list that can be done without a great deal of concentration. Then batch them together and enjoy them—perhaps with music, a podcast, or a time of prayer.
Is this for you? Or do you find it more relaxing just to do the chores as they come up? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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