I staggered into our home, my arms heavy with fresh-bought food, my kids trailing behind. I kicked off my flipflops, stepped over toys, and shoved my load onto the crowded counter. Grass wafted in the windows and blew from room to room. Spiders congregated in corners, day-old eggs stuck to the stove, toys cascaded from the closet, and dripping dishes cried out from the sink. Dirty clothes were piled like cairns down the hallway, marking the way to the bathroom. The floors were smeared with salad dressing, watermelon, and miniature fingerprints.
Summer is here.
I love summer. The school year trips and loses its rhythm. Everything is interrupted. My hard-working husband is home more, my kids run barefoot, and the neighborhood is loud with parents. Housework comes to a standstill as we busy ourselves with impromptu outings, service projects, and play. My heart has to dance to a different beat in summer. But sometimes it is hard to adjust.
An entrenched Martha lives in my heart. She feels the weight of a dirty home. She gets anxious when the toys take over or the kitchen looks abandoned. She dreads friends dropping in and finding preschool underwear all over the floor. Sometimes, in a panic, she hides laundry in the bathtub and unwashed pans in the oven. She often feels like yelling “FREEZE!” and pausing the world for a few minutes so she can dust around in silence.
But the world doesn’t pause. Not during summer.
Martha was actually a thoughtful and considerate hostess. Luke notes that it was Martha who received Jesus into her home. The NASB says she welcomed Him. The NIV and KJV say she opened her home to Him. Her heart was probably full of hospitality, affection, and a desire to offer her best. Her preparations were well-intentioned. But they were also anxious. Maybe she forgot that, just a chapter before, her house guest had effortlessly fed thousands of people with only bread and fish. Or just maybe, if Martha was anything like me, she secretly wanted something more elegant than bread and fish. Maybe she projected her self-worth into the richness of her hospitality, the sparkle on her floors, and the garnish on her plates. Maybe she piled her heart with self-made stress because she longed to impress this powerful young Rabbi and his friends. That’s what I would do.
Mary, on the other hand, abandoned all thought of herself. She crept near the Teacher’s feet and just listened. She cared more about the people who were with her than the elegance of the meal they would share. And Jesus’ gentle rebuke was clear: the thing Mary chose was better. What Mary chose couldn’t be taken away. It was permanent. It was durable, simple, care-free, and trusting. It would last into eternity. Friendship. Fellowship. Discipleship. Faith. Being wholly present. Being ready. Welcoming strangers. Sharing Good News. Not worrying about tomorrow, but letting tomorrow worry about itself. Savoring the words of God.
In summer, there is no room for Martha at our house. She just doesn’t fit. I’m trying to teach her not to worry over dirty floors, toys that can’t stay put, scattered meals, dirty dishes, unplanned parties, or friends who walk in when the kids are shrieking. It is time to choose something better. It is time to diversify, to lay up treasure somewhere else by investing in things that will still be strong and real long after this house and our family have faded away.
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” –Luke 10:38-42 (New Living Translation).
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