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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God Delights Us

Great are the works of the Lord,
exquisite in all their delights.

Psalm 111:2

A few weeks ago, I admitted that I was as tired as my poor husband was that day. My admittedly self-imposed to-do list had overwhelmed me and I needed a break. So it was that I joined my husband in the family room to relax. It didn’t take long for us to be drawn in by the travel channel. We discovered a series of shows which featured Alaska. The week before, friends had shared that they’re planning a cruise to the 49th State. Ever since, I couldn’t help relishing flashbacks to the wonder we’d encountered there. Though cloudy weather had prevented us from viewing the Aurora Borealis, we encouraged our friends take every opportunity for a potential sighting. Much to my absolute joy, the program my husband and I watched that day featured the Aurora in all its glory.

Though I’m certain that these images didn’t do justice to God’s handiwork, they took our breath away. They gave my husband and me a most welcome distraction from our fatigue. Perhaps they’ve also given us reason to take the time to explore God’s other treasures as well.

Loving God, thank you for the beauty with which you surround us. Thank you also for these little interludes which nudge us to enjoy that beauty as often as we can!

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Prioritize With Love

A time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

Ecclesiastes 3:6

The calendar on my desk must stay. The yellowed brochures from last year’s vacation must go. I’ve already written about that! Greeting cards from our sons, their wives and our grandchildren must stay. The unneeded clothing pile I created last month must finally go.

You get the idea, but not all of it. I need to go through the same sort of checklist when it comes to the things I do. Some activities, like spending time with my family, are non-negotiable. I engage in time with them whenever and wherever it presents itself. Other activities, like cooking and doing the laundry, must stay as well, much to my dismay. Still others, however, need to be sorted and categorized and ranked. I need to determine what I will continue to do and what I will pass on. The not-quite-half-written book on my flash drive insists!

In the end, it is up to me to determine what my life’s work will be. That pesky flash drive seems to think that my book should be part of the plan. The truth is that I agree.

Patient God, fill me up with your Spirit and light my way. Help me to prioritize with wisdom and with love.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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