the words of tim walker


hello, my name is martha.
no, i’m not martha stewart. my home doesn’t look like a pinterest board, nor do i care about having just the right place setting for every occasion.
no, i’m not martha white. although she does make a good muffin mix.
and no, i’m not my aunt martha. although she is an awesome lady and one of my favorite aunts. (come on, all you who have multiple aunts know that you have some who are your favorites.)
i’m not any of those marthas, but i am very much a martha.

true, i do have a man voice and man parts. but when you read the Bible story about mary and martha, i’m such a martha.

if you’re not familiar with it, here it is:
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them 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 NLT).

i have read this story over and over again for the past 46 years (well, maybe about six or seven less than that since i didn’t always know how to read.)
and every time, i just don’t get mary.
yeah, i get the big spiritual lesson here—that it’s more important to spend time with Jesus  than do stuff, that relationship is the most important thing, that somehow i can miss Jesus in my busyness.

but i just don’t get mary. get off your butt, mary. do something, mary. don’t you see that martha’s doing all the work here, mary?
i am such a martha.
it’s like mr. incredible said in the movie, The Incredibles: “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for. . . for ten minutes!?”
he’s a martha too.

i love logistics. i’m the keeper of the schedule, the purveyor of details.
and i will consistently choose doing things over relationship.
partially because i’m a grumpy old man who doesn’t want to come out of his cave.
but also because i’m a “behind-the-scenes, get-things-done kind of a guy.”
that’s how i’m known at work.
that’s how i’m known in life.
i will always choose logistics over relationship.
i will stay in the kitchen and wash dishes instead of leaving them in the sink for later.
i will keep the laundry going instead of sitting outside watching the kids play in the cul-de-sac.
i will meet that deadline, every time.
it’s both a good thing and a bad thing. things get done. things keep moving with people like me.
but sometimes it’s not so pretty.

like when i freaked out when one of my boys wanted to play baseball, and i wasn’t sure how that would fit into our busy schedule, much less my complete ignorance about all things baseball and complete lack of interest—all the while ignoring his heart’s desire.

or when i am too busy to hang with a friend, throw a ball (badly), have a conversation.
i prefer doing over being.
and in the process, i miss out.
martha knew she did. why do you think she was so ticked at mary? she knew she could do it all. she just resented that mary was having fun.

and maybe somewhere in there is the part of this story that i do get. and why Jesus statement, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about” haunts me a little bit.


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5 thoughts on “martha

  1. this is precisely why I need to live closer to you. I can take my “maryness” and have it rub off a bit. Mel is a “martha” too. So we clash like that all the time. It’s cool. we learn from each other.

  2. What a wonderful entry and ohhhh how I can relate. What if the world didn’t have us around…we all sit around the fire and roast marshmallows? But you and I both know there would not be a fire nor anything to roast without us…in fact, no one would even be there because no one would have planned it or had it on the calendar…BUT…I too know Mary is right. It’s the quandary between good, better and best. Thanks for sharing.

  3. As a fellow Martha, I so hear what you’re saying. Now, when I’m late with a deadline, I’ll use the excuse that I was being a Mary. Although, come to think of it, attempting to be Mary is usually why I’m late.

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