Recently, I have been thinking about how overwhelmed I become sometimes with house work. Contrary to what some may think, being a homemaker is never an easy task. I love staying at home despite my ability and qualifications to work outside the home. But it is never a matter of getting the home cleaned out in the morning within two hours and then the rest of the day is free. There is always something to do! Ongoing cleaning, laundry, cooking and feeding, children who need attention, and on and on the list goes. . . . Sometimes, I look at my piles and piles of laundry that has been washed over a week but never got put away and wish that they could put themselves away. (This is one of my weak areas, by the way). It is easy to get them in the wash, but to put away immediately does not happen many times, despite my good intentions. I always end up completing some other task and letting the clean laundry wait a little. Uhhhhh!
Just to be transparent here, see the photo above? That is an example of how overwhelmed by a pile of clean laundry I had thrown together. I mean, our clothes, kids clothes, whites, dark, towels, you name it! They were washed separately, but all got mixed up in this huge pile! I had some folded immediately after the wash and others, well I just did not get to them. So as they came from the dryer, I just put them all in a spear room on the bed. Then when we couldn’t find some of our stuff, we just kept digging and digging through the piles to find something. I finally got to it after a week, but by then, of course, there were other loads of laundry to be done! We had just moved into a new home and the task of putting things together and figuring out where every thing goes, was just not happening!
Anyway, as I contemplate on how the never-ending tasks of keeping home could make a person overwhelm at times, I began to think of Mary and Martha. You see, the account in Luke 10: 30-48 about those two sisters is short, but is so powerful and applicable to homemakers today. When Jesus went to visit their home, Martha got very busy tying to prepare her home to serve Him. When the tasks of serving became so overwhelming to her, she went to Jesus to beg help from her sister, Mary. Now Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to His word. Jesus then told Martha, in a nut shell, that she was too busy doing other things in the home, but her sister Mary, had chosen the better part. That better part, my friends, was the “sitting” at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him. I love that little illustration because Martha reminds us of what we do. On the other hand, Mary reminds us of what we need to be doing.
Matthew Henry, a devotional commentator on scripture verses, puts it this way, “The care of Martha about her domestic affairs: But Martha was cumbered about much serving (Luke 10:40), and that was the reason why she was not where Mary was—sitting at Christ’s feet, to hear his word. She was providing for the entertainment of Christ and those that came with him. Perhaps she had no notice before of his coming, and she was unprovided, but was in care to have every thing handsome upon this occasion; she had not such guests every day. Housekeepers know what care and bustle there must be when a great entertainment is to be made”. You can read more from this source here.
I am not condemning Martha at all. Martha Henry further comments that she did it in all honor and respect for her Lord. And who wouldn’t? If someone is coming to my home, of course I would want to show that person all the care by going the extra mile! In my opinion, they both are commendable women! I think both women were trying to find some avenue to express their appreciation and show honor to Jesus being in their home. But it is a matter of priority. What and who comes first.
I know this biblical account refers to the idea of a visitor in the home, but isn’t it so true how we tend to get so cumbered with taking care of the home that we sometimes forget who gave us the home? We forget to go sit at His feet, listening and gleaning from His word, and spending time with Him. While we do not have Him physically at our home like Mary and Martha did, we have His ever-abiding presence and His divine word with us. This is not to say that we need to neglect our homes, either. Because we do not want to turn into people who “lack motivation” which is highly against God’s character. He calls them “sluggards”. Just read through the book of Proverbs and you’ll see how God does not like it when people sit around and do nothing. Proverbs 31:10-31 commends the virtuous woman for taking great care of her home. And another passage in Titus 2:4-5 says that the young wives should be taught by those who have more experience to be good home keepers. So does this contradict Martha’s position? No, not at all. She was spending all her time trying to get things in order to serve Jesus as he entered her home. And she forgot to take the time to spend with Him. So yes, we are to be good home keepers, but we also need to take time to be with our LORD. We need to refresh ourselves and listen to what He has for us. Or else, we will just become more and more overwhelmed with all the daunting tasks that surround us.
I find that whenever, I am so overwhelmed and I step back and take some time with Jesus, the tasks seem to become much easier to handle. I find so much more peace and joy in what I do. I seem to have better direction and clarity of mind to get things done. I get so much more done in short increments of time, than when I neglect the “good part”. However, what I do need to always remember, is to NOT wait util I become overwhelmed to go sit at Jesus’ feet, like I do sometimes. It needs to be constant and just a normal part of life! The great missionary, George Muller, wrote in his biography that when he took the time to spend with Jesus, he got more tasks done rather than when he skipped Jesus altogether. (My paraphrase here – not the exact quote for I do not know what I did with the book, but this always stuck with me from the time I read it back in college). Yet I often neglect to do that first!
So with that said, are you a Mary or a Martha? Are you so overwhelmed with the daunting tasks of home, employment, blogging or just whatever you do that you tend to forget to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to what He has to say to you? It is the only way we will grow in Him and know His direction for our lives. Whatever your situation today, take a little time to spend with Jesus, He is worth it all! In addition, it is a great cure for overcoming being overwhelmed because He gives us such peace and calm in whatever we do!
There is so much more that could be said about this topic, but my post is probably already too long. And I think I have already made the point I wanted to make. But I love writing biblical posts! I don’t do them often as I want to because I don’t want to write for writing sake. I want to be guided in my thoughts by the Lord. I am not sure who all wants to read them but they really help me grow in my walk with God. In addition, I learn so much from the insights from comments of readers on these types of posts and it is just a way to grow together.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31;27, KJV).