Monday, February 8, 2016

Mary or Martha?

Yesterday at church a friend pointed to a picture of Mary and Martha on the wall. (That is a requirement for LDS Relief Society Rooms right? To have a picture of Mary and Martha) said, based on our actions I think most of think we came to earth to be Marthas. We act like our divine purpose is to clean our houses, be busy and do laundry. 

I know that isn't true, but that is definitely what my actions imply. I get mad at my children from preventing me from getting my house work done, preventing me from baking when I want to, preventing me from having a spotless house.

Why am I not choosing the better part?

Luke 10
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.
 I love this commentary of the story:

“What he did say is difficult to bear, but perhaps somewhat less difficult if we examine its context. In the same way that the father in the parable of the prodigal son acknowledges his elder son’s faithfulness, the Lord acknowledges Martha’s care: Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things’ (v. 41). Then he delivers the gentle but clear rebuke. But the rebuke would not have come had Martha not prompted it. The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person’s service: “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me’ (v. 40). Martha’s self-importance, expressed through her judgment of her sister, occasioned the Lord’s rebuke, not her busyness with the meal.”
(Catherine Corman Parry, Associate Professor of English, Brigham Young University, BYU Devotional Talk, 7 May 1991 Wilkinson Center Ballroom) reference
Which I agree with that. Honestly when I think about my testimony, and I think about the Savior, I don't think he loved Mary more than Martha. I don't think Mary was better, I think they were just different and that is ok and good too. I think the Lord loves us as we are and hopes we find the path that leads us to the better part. As I've contemplated how to keep the Sabbath day holy as a family, I decided cleaning our living room was utmost importance. I literally can not feel the spirit during family time if I'm laying in crumbs. But obviously there is reason and balance in everything, and if you don't feel worthy to feel the spirit because your to do list isn't finished then maybe your life needs a different order.  I'll be honest, its hard to sit down and read the scriptures when my house hasn't been cleaned. At this stage of life,  the crumbs will always be among us, so I should study the scripture first. Not to mention its far easier to sweep when the house is loud, so if there is quiet, I should probably pick up my Book of Mormon first. 

Mary and Martha—Faithful Sisters, Devoted Disciples
By Evelyn T. Marshall
For years I have mistakenly assumed that Mary sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha worked in the kitchen. Not so. In verse 39 Luke carefully explains that Martha “had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.” (Luke 10:39; italics added.) They bothsat there to hear the words of eternal life from their Lord. It is appropriate, therefore, that these three appear on the 1987 Relief Society study guide cover which entreats sisters everywhere to “learn of me.” (Matt. 11:29.) Mary and Martha were doing just that, learning of the Savior—together.
But then, that which comes to all of us must have occurred to this trio of friends—they became hungry. It was Martha, the caring hostess, who provided repast for her remarkable visitor. In addition, Martha felt she needed assistance and asked Jesus to ask Mary to help her. Which woman among us, when faced with similar circumstances, has not made a similar plea?
Luke records that “Martha was cumbered about much serving.” (Luke 10:40; italics added.) Obviously these two sisters did not have prior notice of Jesus’ arrival at their home, so they had no chance to prepare a meal. We cannot indict Martha for wanting to serve the best to her Lord. Women throughout the Church are serving the best they have to General Authorities and other visitors who similarly travel to teach the eternal truths of this same Jesus.
The question here is one of priorities. Even special meals can become too complicated if we spend hours frosting the petit fours instead of planning more simply-prepared food. Do we spend more time planning and executing a lavish Sunday dinner forfamily members than we do studying the scriptures that day? Do we value a perfectly clean home over spending time teaching and loving our children? The story of Mary and Martha, observes Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “reminds every Martha, male and female, that we should not be so occupied with what is routine and temporal that we fail to cherish the opportunities that are unique and spiritual.” (Ensign, Nov. 1985, p. 61.)
Jesus’ gentle reproval to Martha is much the same as any loving parent would speak to an upset child: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” (Luke 10:41.) The footnote clarifies thatcareful means worried. Martha was indeed concerned about what to serve and how to entertain the Son of God. Perhaps Martha is “Everywoman” in her desire to be hospitable and caring in this situation.
How are we “cumbered” today? Are household tasks a hindrance and burdensome? Are we disorganized, frustrated, overstressed? Are we victims of crises, reacting to pressures of time and circumstance rather than acting to control them?
Just as Mary and Martha had distinct personalities, so are each of us individuals with our own strengths, weaknesses, and talents. As with Mary and Martha, it is often easy for us to judge others, and even ourselves, in unfair light. We need to learn the lesson these two sisters teach us: we need balance in our lives. While we are to perform the necessary tasks, we need also to seek the “good part” and learn the truths of the gospel.

I'm positive if you know me, or you've read my blogs, you've heard this story. When I had a new baby, and an under 2 year old boy. I thought all that mattered was I cooked a healthy dinner for my family. I got in my head, a healthy dinner was the end all be all of my creation. And, secondly I needed to bath my children at least three times a week. Now mind you I had a infant who couldn't hold himself up, a one year old, and a barely 5 year old. That meant I was bathing three children three times a week, and the infant was not able to bathe with the older kids, I was loosing my mind. Although I often thought if I was a better mother I'd be bathing my infant daily. (I won't get into that bizarre thought, and they don't even recommend that anymore, but still my thoughts.) Then General Conference (April 2014) came around and Sister Reeves said this:
Some of you have heard me tell how overwhelmed my husband, Mel, and I felt as the parents of four young children. As we faced the challenges of parenting and keeping up with the demands of life, we were desperate for help. We prayed and pleaded to know what to do. The answer that came was clear: “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”
We were trying to do these things, but they were not always the priority and, amidst the chaos, were sometimes neglected. We changed our focus and tried not to worry about the less-important things. Our focus became to talk, rejoice, preach, and testify of Christ by striving to daily pray and study the scriptures and have weekly family home evening.
I didn't quite know how to change at first. I didn't know how to have scripture study after I was so tired from cooking. The spirit told me, feed them cold cereal. I had the inspiration that said, cold cereal with a family prayer is more important the the healthiest meal. We were only have scripture study a few times a week, because I couldn't figure out how to scripture study and bathe so many kids. I came to terms that two baths a week is better if we are reading scriptures daily. We often have prayer and scripture study in the hallway while the two little boys are in the bath. I mentioned something about this in Relief Society, and another lady said, well bathing is important too. I quickly responded not as important as prayer.
I also love what Bonnie D. Parkin's said in October 2003
Mary and Martha are you and me; they are every sister in Relief Society. These two loved the Lord and wanted to show that love. On this occasion, it seems to me that Mary expressed her love by hearing His word, while Martha expressed hers by serving Him.
I do not think Martha or Mary was better a person. They were both different. I just really needed to hear, I am not better than my children because I choose to clean the house.

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