There’s a difference between truly serving and just doing things to be busy.
There’s “busy”, and there’s “why-am-I-doing-this-to-myself busy”. I did both this Easter. Some things were done to truly serve and help others. But even in those things I tend to go overboard. Did I really need to stay up until after midnight Saturday night making a breakfast casserole for Easter breakfast potluck? Probably not. I got a “look” from my husband more than once during the cooking process, and a harder look when I confessed I never even signed up to bring anything for said potluck. (By the time I confessed that, there was no turning back in making this thing happen.) And the silly thing about it is, I wanted to take something so people would see I was participating. Not exactly the attitude about serving Jesus calls us to have. Being busy just to look like we’re doing the right thing isn’t what Jesus means by serving others. Knowing our limits and using the gifts we have to bless other people so they’ll see a little of Jesus in us – that’s what we’re called to do.
It’s way easier to be a “Martha” than a “Mary”.
Mary and Martha. You know the story… Jesus is teaching at His friends’ house (Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ place). Martha snaps into hostess mode and cleans, cooks, and prepares for her guests. Her sister defies social norms and instead of helping her sister prepare, she sits at Jesus’ feet listening to His teaching and soaking up every word. Martha complains to Jesus and demands He make Mary help her. Jesus tells Martha that she worries about many things, but there’s only one really important thing – and Mary figured that out. Who decided that holidays have to be so rushed and so much busier than any other days of the year? Guess what. Easter will still come if the eggs don’t get dyed. Easter still comes when the decorations don’t make it out onto the shelves. Jesus still lives if you didn’t find the perfect outfit for church. In the back of my mind on Friday and Saturday I knew I should slow down and spend some time reading my Bible and praying. But the projects of the weekend were louder and demanded to be done before anything else, and I kept putting off time with God. The result? I felt stressed, overwhelmed, and risked missing the point of Easter. It’s easier to rush and do and go. It’s harder to stop and rest and listen. Mary chose what was better and we’d do well to follow her example. The projects will still be there after we’ve taken care of what’s most important.
Find a new perspective.
As I was dodging bacon grease splatters and chopping veggies for that breakfast casserole, I tried to put myself in the sandals of Jesus’ followers. It occurred to me that the women weren’t preparing for a celebration the next day. If they were cooking at all, they were maybe making food for the distraught and terrified disciples who were in hiding fearing for their lives. What they did prepare for was to go to the tomb the next morning to finish the burial process. I thought about how sad they must have been and the images that must have been burned into their memories – the times they spent following Jesus and the horrible images of His suffering and crucifixion. Even though Jesus had told His followers time and time again that He would suffer and die and rise again, they didn’t understand. We have the rest of the story, and sometimes I wonder if that kind of desensitizes us to the reality of the Bible. Knowing the rest of the story makes Good Friday less sad. We know Jesus comes back to life. We know why He died, why He rose. And I think because we know all that we need to take some extra effort to put ourselves in the place of some of the people who lived these events first-hand. Jesus’ death was horrific. He really died. And He really rose and really lives today. Finding a new perspective on a super familiar story helps me get re-sensitized and reach a fresh understanding of what Jesus did for me.
If you were more of a Martha than a Mary this Easter season, don’t worry. God loves, forgives and reaches out to you right now to spend some time with Him. Let’s follow Mary’s lead and sit with Him!