She removes the paper napkin holder and lines up the silverware in preparation for the arrival of our breakfast order. She reaches to do the same for her sister.
Mary scowls and slaps Martha’s hand. “Stop. I’m not a child anymore.”
I chuckle and lean back in the booth to observe the most popular sisters from the Bible. Both slender in frame with Martha inching slightly over Mary by a few centimeters, but neither could be described as beautiful but rather plain looking.
Mary’s eyes narrow as she sips her coffee, her annoyance flashing across her face.
Do they ever get along?
I clear my throat to stop the sisters from bickering.
Martha smiles. “Sorry for her childish interruption.”
Mary opens her mouth but clamps it shut.
I check my notes to get the conversation going. Anything to end the awkwardness of the moment. “I think I know the answer to this question, but my readers want me to ask it. What was it like growing up in your household?”
The sisters glance at each other, hang their heads, and burst out laughing. Mary leans into Martha, tears running down her face.
Other patrons stop their conversations to stare in our direction.
I tap my pen on my notepad. “Okay, what’s so funny? Am I missing something?”
Mary wipes her tears. “We made a bet on what your first question would be. I won. I figured you’d ask that.” She holds out her hand. “Pay up, sister.”
Martha reaches into her handbag and pulls out a few bills. “And you’d be surprised by the answer. We didn’t always bicker about everything.” Her smile fades. “We were closer when we were children.”
“I miss those days.” Mary’s eyebrows furrow, lines etching deep on her forehead.
Martha sighs. “We grew up. Our parents died and then I became the head of the household.”
“You mean the control freak of the family.” Mary stirs honey into her coffee.
“Someone had to reign in your childish fantasies.”
I begin to wonder if I should sit between them. “Where was Lazarus during all your squabbles?”
Martha shook her head. “Pffft. He refused to takes sides.”
I suppress a smile. Smart man.
Our breakfast orders arrive and the bacon aroma tantalizes my nose. I inhale and my mouth waters. We say grace before I continue with more questions. “Martha, what drives you to be constantly cooking, cleaning, and needing everything so tidy?”
“I’m a perfectionist and just want my home looking nice in case company arrives. Is that wrong?”
I take a bite of my eggs benedict and consider her question. Is it? Do we need everything picture perfect on the outside if things aren’t right on the inside? What if our priorities are wrong?
I grab my napkin and wipe my mouth. “I guess it depends on what else is happening around us. Didn’t you want to spend time with Jesus when he came to visit?”
“Of course, but I had to feed him and make sure he was comfortable.” She averts her gaze to Mary. “I would’ve finished sooner if someone helped me out.”
Mary takes a bite of breakfast. “I chose to listen and worship.” Her words muffling behind a mouth stuffed with waffles and whipped cream. She swallows before continuing. “Jesus even told you so.”
Martha purses her lips and grunts.
I sip my coffee and ponder Mary’s words. She chose to stop and be still. I can picture her hanging onto His every word, worshiping at His feet.
How many times do we get distracted by the busyness around us? We lose our focus on what really matters. Simply being with Jesus.
Martha made it all about her by wanting everything perfect for Christ and the guests in her house, but that’s not what HE wanted.
That’s not what He wants for us.
He longs for us to be still.
To sit at His feet . . . focus . . .
And worship Him.
Do you have a focused heart? Or are you wrapped up in the busyness like Martha? I must confess, there are times I’m more like Martha than Mary. Shame on me! What are your thoughts?
Stay tuned for my next conversation with Martha and Mary. There’s more to learn from these sisters!
Luke 10:41-42 (VOICE)
Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters. Mary has chosen that one thing, and I won’t take it away from her.