“Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so, she came to him and asked, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me." 41 But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."” (Luke 10:38-42)
While we all want to believe we would know better and choose to be like Mary if we were in this situation. Without truly understanding what God is asking of us in these verses, I have my doubts.
Imagine if you are at home this afternoon and you get a text that Jesus is coming to your house for a visit. From what I know about many of the women of Cook's it would be all systems go. Our wheels would start turning and the frenzy to pull together the most fabulous experience for our lord and savior is on. Dishes clanging, casseroles a baking, the dog is hiding so as to not get in the way and the kids have been ordered to clean up their mess post haste. The number of things that must be done is overwhelming. Am I right, ladies? We would be worried and distracted in a sense trying to make sure our guest felt welcomed and honored.
Let's look at what would drive this behavior:
1) Cultural and societal expectations
2) Fear and judgement…. fear of making a mistake of not getting it right, what will Suzie think if I use paper plates? I'm not handy, I don't know what to do. While these reasons seem to come from a place of good intentions how about the attitude of, I have to do it or it won’t be done right.
Here's the kicker:
Martha is behaving as she would be expected to behave. Being hospitable was an extremely important part of the cultural and societal norm and she follows suit by welcoming their guest and serving a meal. On the other hand, Mary is the one behaving unexpectedly.
Mary is not fulfilling the role of a women in her culture. In fact, she assumes the role of student, traditionally reserved for men.