My friends were going to be stopping by in twenty minutes for a quick visit.
I hadn’t seen them in months!
I had just sat down for some Bible study time when I got the text that they were coming.
I had a choice. The girls were both napping (a rare occurrence) and I had twenty minutes.
I looked around at my untidy house and I thought of my visitor’s immaculate home.
Then, I made the wrong choice.
I got up and started tidying up.
My conscience niggled at me. They don’t care if there are some toys out and papers on the counter. They probably won’t even notice the mess. You are choosing Martha! What do you think God would have you do: meet with Him or clean?
Yet, on I went with my tidying, ignoring the thoughts that were convicting me.
My friends came. We had a lovely time and the second they left my daughter awoke from her nap. Gone was any chance for a quiet time.
Why do we so often choose to be Martha, when Christ himself declares that Mary, “has chosen what is better” ? (Luke 10: 38-42)
The problem lies within 1 Samuel 16:7 “For the Lord does not see as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Isn’t it the truth? Even without intending to, man looks at the outward. We notice clothes and home decor and Pinterest-worthy parties because they are right before our eyes. We are bombarded with visual reminders of who people are through their social media streams and we often forget to consider the heart. To consider the people themselves.
Because of this, we often judge ourselves based on these same principles. We look around and see the outward. We see the messy floors or the un-vacuumed rug and forget about the time we spent studying the word or the hours spent playing with and caring for our children. We judge ourselves by outward appearances and that judgement dictates our decisions.
We believe the lie that we will feel better if we wash our dishes than if we read our Bible. Actions and a clean counter are so much more measurable than a heart connected to Christ and a mind filled with His word. We want to show people how “good” we are through our tidy rooms, not our Christ-filled hearts.
That, my friends, is pride. Those things done in quiet are not often seen. The spiritual growth you feel might not be noticed. And so, in an effort to have others think well of us, we reach for the quick reward and for the obvious. We reach for the outward, like Martha.
“But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
Look at me, Lord. Look at how hard I am working. Look at what a servant I am. Look at how much better I am than my sister.
There is one problem, Martha. He is looking, but with the eyes of God. He is not looking where our human eyes look. He is looking deeper. And, you know what? Your serving isn’t bad! God calls you to serve. But, you are doing it with a wicked heart. Without joy. With jealousy. Filled with pride.
So, women, let’s chose what is better. Let’s stop choosing Martha. Even if it means people will leave your home talking about the mess (Which they won’t because I mean, really, think about it. How often have you gone to a friend’s house and even noticed, let alone cared, if there was a mess?) choose what God wants for you. Choose to clean up your heart first.
Jesus promised that if you do, “It will not be taken away from [you]”. Dishes and laundry will pile up again after you complete them, but your spiritual growth and the development of your character will steadily grow as you spend time at the feet of the Lord.