Choose Wisely

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Luke 10:41

I recently participated in a flurry of emails regarding an upcoming family gathering. In this busy technological era, my extended family has resorted to email to narrow down potential gathering dates by assessing who can come when. One of my nephews even proposed an online app to facilitate our efforts. Happily, a date has been chosen which will result in optimum attendance.

Large family gatherings are among my most precious childhood memories. Though I dreaded the preparations involved, I loved our family parties. I usually crept away from the children and eased myself into the periphery of the adult conversations. I listened to recent news and familiar stories with equal interest. I continue to savor remnants of these wonderful exchanges. My mom often observed that I didn’t miss a thing! The truth is that if I hadn’t busied myself with listening so carefully to the adults around me, I would have missed a great deal!

Something similar occurred during one of Jesus’ visits to the home of Martha and Mary. Martha scurried about to prepare a meal for Jesus and his friends, while Mary seated herself at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained about Mary’s disinterest in helping her, Jesus offered her little sympathy. Though Jesus appreciated Martha’s concern, he appreciated Mary’s company far more.

The truth is that being present to those we love is the most important task at hand.

Loving God, you have blessed us with both a work ethic and the capacity to love. Help us to use both wisely.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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The Better Part

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”

Luke 10:41

Recent frustration over scheduling a family gathering urged me down Memory Lane for a while. My most precious childhood memories include large family gatherings. Though I dreaded the preparations, I loved our family parties. I usually crept away from the children and eased myself into the periphery of the adult conversations. I listened to recent news and familiar stories with equal interest. I continue to savor remnants of these wonderful exchanges. As my mother often observed, I didn’t miss a thing! What I would have missed if I had busied myself with “things” rather than enjoying these wonderful people!

A few years into my marriage, I realized that I had lost the art of enjoying such gatherings. While my husband engaged our guests, I busied myself in the kitchen preparing, serving and cleaning up afterward. When my poor husband tried to head off to bed, I kept him up with questions about what was new with the family or friends who had just left us.

Jesus addresses a similar dilemma during a visit to the home of Martha and Mary. Martha scurried about to prepare a meal for Jesus and his friends, while Mary seated herself at Jesus’ feet. When Martha complained about Mary’s disinterest in helping her, Jesus offered her little sympathy. Though Jesus appreciated Martha’s concern, he appreciated Mary’s company far more.

I eventually learned the lesson Martha learned so long ago. Being present to those we love is the most important task at hand.

Loving God, you have blessed us with both a work ethic and the capacity to love. Help us to keep these gifts in balance by choosing love over our “to-do” lists every time.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Rest With Mary

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:41-42

It has taken me a lifetime to appreciate our very human need to slow down and to relax a bit. I truly enjoy the natural beauty around me. Still, I sometimes use more energy listing the reasons that I cannot head outdoors to walk on a particular day than I would have expended by actually walking. In the end, I accomplish far less than I might have if I had been energized by that trek outdoors.

As I contemplate the early onset of autumn this year, I realize that my opportunities to walk outdoors will soon be limited to those days when I can tolerate the temperature. Though I truly enjoy winter’s beauty, I will have to enjoy that beauty firsthand for only a few minutes at a time. I looked away from my keyboard for a moment to respond to the tree outside of my window which seems to be waving to me. As I watch, it occurs to me that I must listen to the Wise One who once told Martha that she worried far too much. Then, I must watch carefully as Mary sits peacefully at Jesus’ feet, drawing in his every word and all of the affection that comes with each one.

It occurs to me that I must ask Mary to move over a bit so I can take my place at the Lord’s feet as well. It is there that I will learn to stop worrying about the cold that may or may not come my way and enjoy the warmth of this particular moment. I’m going to sign off now and go for a walk. I want to wave to that tree outside my window in person.

Generous God, as I set aside my own worries, help me to assist others in doing the same. Open each of our hearts to your infinite love and peace.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved