Growing in Christ

Two Sisters, Two Divergent Responses to Jesus


The bitter coolness from the floor was more tolerable to Mary because of the thin cushion under her. As He spoke of His Heavenly Father’s love, she seemed ready to stand at any moment. Her eyes had a direct path to His, and not once did she blink or look away distracted. Impressed and almost paralyzed by His words, her posture had never looked straighter. Meanwhile, the clanging of cookware, with clarity, conveyed Martha’s frustration! With no help, she prepared an impressive feast for their guests. As Martha’s anger reached a boiling point, she interrupted the Rabbi complaining about Mary. Two sisters and two divergent responses to Jesus…

Insert yourself into this house. Where do you see yourself sitting or standing, and with whom do you most identify? I connect with both Mary and with Martha. I long to learn from Jesus, and yet, tasking sends me urgent invitations, by the minute! Being still in His presence and running my home like a disciplined ship seem to fight against each other. Do you find it frustrating to have a Mary heart in a Martha world? It seems that life’s musts, with consistency, encroach upon knowing God, don’t they?

So, how can we find a place of balance amidst the consistent tugging on our hearts and our time? While my scale still requires balancing, my heart finds anchoring in Psalm 46:10:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Did you know that “still” means to stop frantic activity? Oh boy, does this describe me most days! Knowing God boils down to choices:

1. Choose to separate yourself from frantic thinking and activity. Setting aside a few minutes to be still in His Presence brings balance to the tug-of-war on our hearts and time. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you as you quiet yourself in His Presence. Have your journal, pen, and a Bible nearby. Worship music helps quiet my darting thoughts.

2. Expect Him to meet with you! Jesus chided Martha’s childish arguments while applauding Mary for choosing time with Him. Jesus said that Mary chose what was better. My days are far more productive by having alone time with Him. And, guess what? He exchanges my “To Do List” anxiety for something so much better, Himself!

3. Having an eternal perspective related to our “To Do List.” So much of my agenda is just that, “my” agenda. “My” agenda often makes me unavailable to address His agenda. Ask the Lord to help you rank your tasking. Often, I remind myself that few things require completion today.

A tasker, by nature, “The List” begs of my time first thing each morning. Often caving to the temptation, I convince myself that I can have alone time with Him later, rarely true! The best part of time with Him is knowing Him more and, thereby, having a seed to plant in another’s life. This is part of the fruitfulness that accompanies abiding in The Vine. Like Mary, our desire for Him will increase as we spend time alone with Him more often. May your heart find strength to choose what is better today, time alone in His Presence.

“So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” 

Psalm 90:12.

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