This term we have been looking at different people who met Jesus and the impact he had on their lives. This is a slightly embellished version of the story of Mary and Martha, imagining some of the choices that Martha made…
Jesus and his followers were travelling around from town to town, meeting people along the way, staying with friends and strangers as they went.
One day they came to a small village. As they were passing through, a villager called Martha saw Jesus and his friends. She’d heard all about Jesus and knew that he was a great teacher. And now here he was, walking through her village!
Martha’s choice: wave at them as they walk past or invite them to her house for tea?
Martha was a friendly woman, and invited Jesus and his friends to come to her house. She welcomed them all and made them feel at home.
Martha’s choice: go and make food for the guests or sit down and talk with the guests?
Martha hurried out of the room. There were a lot of people here, more than she had expected and she wasn’t sure there would be enough food after all. She called the servants to come and help her, then started searching through the cupboards to see what she could feed them all. She pulled out as much food as she could find, then set about making some bread. Halfway through mixing the dough, she realised that she hadn’t even given her guests a drink and they must be so thirsty, travelling all this way in the heat.
Martha’s choice: go and fetch water from the well or ask her sister to go?
Martha realised that it would be easier to send her sister to go to the well for water and she could carry on making the bread. She went to the kitchen door and shouted. She waited for an answer… But there was no response.
Martha’s choice: go and fetch water from the well or carry on preparing food?
Well, what else could she do? Her guests had to drink and if her lazy sister wasn’t going to come and help then she’d have to fetch it herself. Grumpily putting down her mixing bowl in the kitchen, she told the servants to carry on with the food, then stomped out to the well. She lowered the bucket and filled it with water before pulling it back up and emptying the water into jugs. Picking up the jugs, she stomped back through the kitchen to find cups, and put everything on a tray to take to her guests, all the time muttering to herself about how this would be so much easier if her sister had helped.
Making her way down the hallway, she put a smile on her face as she reached the room where she’d left Jesus and his friends. She might be feeling a bit grumpy, but it wouldn’t be good manners to be bad tempered in front of the guests! But as she opened the door she couldn’t help scowling – because there, sitting on the floor right by Jesus’ feet, was her sister!
Martha’s choice: tell her sister off in front of the guests or have a quiet word with her later?
Martha couldn’t help herself. “Mary, didn’t you hear me calling you? I needed your help in the kitchen and all the time you’re just sitting here? Jesus, don’t you care that she left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to do her duty and come and help me!”
Almost immediately Martha felt herself blushing – how rude to drag a guest into a family argument! She hurriedly put the tray down and was about to run out of the room. But as she turned to go, she saw Jesus looking at her, and was surprised to see such kindness in his eyes.
“Martha,” he said. “Dear Martha. You are so worried and upset about so many things. But you’re getting yourself worked up over something that really isn’t important! Only one thing is important and Mary has chosen it. It’s more important than food – in fact, it’s the main course! And it won’t be taken away from her.”
Your choice: today, will you rush around busily doing all the things that have to be done or will you spend time with your friend Jesus?