Okay, so 31 Days to Clean has a subtitle. “Having a Martha House the Mary Way”. I know the Bible story of Mary and Martha, I've heard it many times and read it more than a few times as well. So what's the big deal?
Well – Mary was a devoted daughter in the Kingdom. She loved to sit with Jesus, listen, and learn. I imagine she asked a lot of questions too. This really frustrated her sister, Martha, who was a fantastic host and wanted everything to be just perfect for her guests. In the story of Mary and Martha in the book of Luke, this is exactly what is going on. Mary is soaking it all in. She's sitting on the floor, listening to Jesus and Martha gets upset. Jesus tells Martha that it's okay, Mary is making a good choice.
What does Mary sitting at Jesus' feet have to do with cleaning? Hmm... she wasn't helping her sister clean, she saw something more important than making the house spotless and went for it. Her house WAS clean though (Martha made sure of it). Mary was not being lazy or irresponsible, she was devoting her time and energy to a greater task. She knew that the dishes could be washed later and the laundry hanging on the line could get folded after she was done learning. She knew she was in the presence of someone amazing.
I was thinking about Mary last night and ways that I am like Mary. I like to find more important things to do than clean – but it's not because they are greater and I know I can get the little things done cleaner. I am not like Mary in this way – I don't like to clean because, well, frankly, I feel overwhelmed by the task at times so I avoid it!
I want to be like Mary though, I want to be able to know that the things I am reaching for are greater than a perfectly tidy house. I want to learn to sit at the feet of Jesus and soak it in. I want to spend my energy doing things that matter.
I can think of one Mary-like time in my recent memory, I know there are others, but this scene comes to mind:
My grandpa was sick, he was recovering from an illness in the hospital – this was near the end of his life. Having a large family has some benefits – when my grandparents were sick we were able to develop a plan so that they never had to be alone. My cousin Ashlee and I were visiting with grandpa while he was there. I loved talking with him – he was my hero (and still is). As we came into the room another cousin was leaving. We had Grandpa to ourselves. He was in a good mood and very chatty that day. Somehow we got him onto the subject of World War II – he had been a prisoner of war in Germany. Ashlee and I sat at the sides of the bed on the edges of our seats, soaking it in, asking questions, yearning for more. All of our energy was devoted to learning what life had been like for this amazing man.
My grandpa was not Jesus, probably not even close. He does however, represent Jesus in my life in a lot of ways. As I remember that afternoon in the hospital, I long to be captivated by the stories of Jesus the same way I was caught up by my grandpa's tale of war and love.
That is what it means to me to be Mary. I am hoping that as I embark on this 31 day journey, I can learn to be more like Mary and practice sitting at the feet of Jesus daily.