Martha Gets a Bad Rap

My eyes glanced at the clock hanging above the TV and I pushed the vacuum desperately along the carpeted floor. It was 10 a.m. on a Sunday morning and I was supposed to be somewhere else. With hands raised, eyes closed, worshipping along with my church family. That’s where I was supposed to be. Not here, at home – rushing through the house and giving it the best clean I could under the circumstances.

woman cleaning.JPG

But, what am I supposed to do? I asked myself again. I’ve written about wearing many hats before – and it just seems like the demands on my time are getting more intense. Especially with a 14-month old who I affectionately call ‘my handbag’ – as in, he won’t let me go anywhere without him.

I imagined what the pastor would say if he could see what I had traded in my Sunday morning worship for:

“Remember the story of Mary and Martha”, he would say, voice thundering with indignation.

“Martha was distracted – serving guests, cooking, washing up – worried about too many things. But, Mary sat quietly at the feet of the Master and got the one thing that was needful.”

I could picture the frown on his face as he scolded me. Contrition flooded me and I wondered whether I should have just chucked it all and gone to church like I was supposed to. But, the thing is, it would all still be waiting for me. Between work, home stuff, kid stuff, marriage stuff and personal projects, time is at a premium for me and I always remind myself that I need to manage it better.

But, what am I supposed to do when I wake up on a Sunday morning and the house is a mess because I spent half the day wrangling my daughter to sit still so I could fix her hair? And the other half of the day was spent cooking 2-3 pots of soup, stew, jollof/fried/coconut rice and maybe some baked chicken? What happens when I can’t do my usual Saturday cleaning because I didn’t leave the kitchen until midnight?

On days like those, I feel more like Martha than Mary. She was so exhausted trying to do it all; she finally went to Jesus and blasted Mary! I know Jesus reprimanded her – for good reason, too – but, I can certainly sympathize with her. On days like those, I send up a prayer for forgiveness, tackle the housework and think to myself that Martha certainly gets a bad rap. Poor Martha.

Onyih Odunze

Think About It: Do you ever sacrifice ‘needful’ things on the altar of ‘important’ things, like Martha did? How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed with activities? Please share your thoughts below.