Martha, Did You Know?

Martha and Mary.

Two sisters, two very different ideas.

They invited Jesus into their home.  Martha spent the time He was there rushing around, frantically cleaning and cooking.  She had the Son of God sitting in her living room and she was too busy to talk to Him!  Mary decided the important thing was spending time with their guest, the One who loved them both so deeply.

This Christmas, the same as every Christmas, indeed every day – Jesus comes into our homes if we invite Him.

But will we be rushing around, preparing the house, the food, the presents, the…everything…and failing to spend time with Him?  Or will we be spending time with the One who loved us so deeply, He came as a baby and died as a wrongfully accused criminal?

“But few things are needed  – or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10v.42, emphasis added.

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Sorry without the trimmings

You know what one of the hardest things to say is?

I’m sorry – and not add the ‘but you…’ at the end.

I’m happy enough to apologise if I can shift some of the blame onto someone else.  And you know what, most of the time it is partly someone else’s fault.

But are we really sorry if we’re still trying to justify ourselves?

“I’m sorry I broke your vase – but you shouldn’t have left it in such a stupid place.”

“I’m sorry I said that – but you really wind me up when you use that tone of voice on me!!!”

“I’m sorry you didn’t understand me – but you’re the one not bothering to listen properly.”

Yeah.

Right.

Sounds like real repentance, doesn’t it?

So that’s my current challenge: just plain “I’m sorry”.

Maybe later, after we’ve both calmed down, I can come back and say: “Please can we talk through what upset us earlier?  When you use that voice on me, what I’m hearing is “I don’t trust you to make a simple decision”.  Now, I love you and I don’t think that’s what you were trying to say so please can we work on this?”

No.  It’s not always going to happen.  But I wonder how many arguments would stop escalating if we could just simply say “I’m sorry for doing/saying that”.

My challenge: listen to yourself.  See how often your “I’m sorry’s” have the side salad of “but you…”.

Short Pondering: Serving

Sometimes our chance to serve doesn’t come cleaned up.

It comes dirty, hard and beyond us.

 

His challenge for us is to serve then, not when it’s tidied.

 

To visit when chains are still being worn,

Not when only the scars are left.

 

To clean muddy feet,

Not ones already washed.

 

To kneel in sick and hold a teenage mum.

To not be afraid of tears as we hug a broken-hearted child.

 

Lord, please.

May our hearts never be so hard we can’t see suffering.

And may our desire to help never be squashed by the size of the problem.

 

You are God.

And You have given us Your Spirit.

With You, we can do all things.

 

“Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me.”  (Matthew 25v.40 The Message)