A Little Less Martha, and a Little More Mary

Today’s post comes from in house. Mandy Mullinix is the marketing specialist for Tommy Nelson, and has a son of her own. She is here to share a little devotional with you today! Also, you can follow Mandy on Twitter!

With the holidays here, I thought I would share a message that has been on my heart, especially here in the last week or so.
LUKE 10:38-42 (KJV)
38) Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39) And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40) But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me.
41) And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42) But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Though it’s a familiar story to us all, I know it’s not one we normally think of at the holidays. But the holidays, especially this year, is when I at least need to think on it the most. Like many of you, my holiday to-do list is pretty full. And maybe like some of you, I’m feeling pressure with each passing day because I’m behind.

It all started a few weeks ago, right before Thanksgiving. I was on a mission trip in Thailand and was able to get on Facebook. I’m sitting there in t-shirts and shorts reading status updates from my friends about how they “Just finished Christmas shopping” and “The trees are put up and they are so pretty.” I’m sitting in a Buddhist country half way around the world in 80+degree heat… trust me, I was anything but in “Christmas” mode. But on my flight home, I started my Christmas to-do list. It took up nearly an entire page.

Here it is though weeks later (and only days away from Christmas), and guess how much of that list I’ve crossed off? Two items. That’s it. After all, it’s hard to justify a lot of Christmas shopping when you haven’t been to the grocery store in a month. It’s also hard to rationalize addressing one hundred Christmas cards, when you have two weeks of unopened mail to contend with. And all of my careful planning didn’t seem to take into account just how bad jet lag can be.

So when I read Luke 10 and I ask myself, which do I identify with…? I have to be honest and say I’m Martha.

If we look at verse 40, we see the word used to describe Martha is “cumbered.” The NASB uses the word “distracted,” and the International Standard Version even uses the word “worried.” But I thought the word “cumbered” in the King James Version was interesting. Cumbered is defined as to weigh down; burden or to hamper or hinder, as by being in the way.

I think a lot of us approach the holidays cumbered, especially those of us who are parents and grandparents. After all, we feel a self-imposed pressure to make Christmas “special” for the kids, even if it’s at our own expense of energy, time and money. But even more than that, I think it is easy for all of us sometimes to get our worth tied up in what we do verses who we are.

I need to remember that though I’m a mom here on earth, I’m still God’s daughter. And He wants nothing more than for me to enjoy Christmas too.
Yes, all the things I have to do for Christmas are good things. But they cease being good when they keep me from the things that truly matter, such as time for study and meditation or true quality time with friends and family.

I’ll be honest and admit that I’ll probably not shed my Martha ways overnight… nor should I. After all, she was doing good. But this year, I don’t have to decorate every square inch of my house, and I probably could stand to shave a few people off the mammoth Christmas gift list that had to be put on an Excel spreadsheet a few years ago.

If we look again at the scriptures, we see that Martha was caught up with “many things” (verse 41).

However, Mary was lovingly occupied with “one thing” (verse 42). In our Christian walk, Jesus is not to be one thing among many things, but the core of everything.

And so, my wish for you and me is a non-cumbered Christmas!