Last Sunday in one of our classes we were talking about Mary and Martha and the story in Luke 10:38-42. I've always understood Martha being "cumbered" about with much serving. I have always felt sorry for her, there she is doing all the work while Mary is just sitting there and listening to Jesus talk while she does all the work by herself. I have felt the unfairness and completely understood why she asked Jesus to have Mary help her. But I also saw Jesus' point when he says to Martha that "Mary hath chosen that good part" because it was an opportunity to hear the Jesus' words.
I am a "Martha," I always have been. I understand now that that is part of co-dependency, you just do what needs to be done without really looking to see if there is a more "needful thing" that should be done instead. Someone in our lesson (I think it was KH) said something about the "needful thing" may have been that what Jesus was saying was something that Martha needed to hear.
I have always seen in the story how Mary was listening and just figured that Jesus meant that Martha should be listening too. But this comment brought out a whole new idea for me. It was more than just listening to Jesus, He was saying that the "needful thing" was that Martha needed to learn to stop "serving" for a minute and just listen to Jesus' words for her own personal growth and well-being. He is saying that there is a time and place for serving and a time and place to stop and listen.
How often in my life I have been the one "cumbered about much serving" paying far too much attention to everyone and everything else around me that I haven't paid attention to myself. How often I wonder now was it "needful" for me to stop and listen, listen for the words of the Spirit telling me the things that I needed to hear. How often I forget that all of us, including myself, need a quiet moment to listen for answers to prayers. We don't always have to be doing, doing and doing.
I learned a new lesson from the story of Mary and Martha, its not just about Mary choosing the good part, it is also about Martha learning to slow down and do the needful thing for herself. And I, in turn, need to do the same.