Lazy Summer Days

Oh, it was a hot one yesterday with the mercury climbing up to 98 degrees. If anyone actually still has a mercury thermometer, that's what it would have climbed up to. The next few days here are slated to be in the upper 90's again. Mercy.

That kind of heat is like a snow day for us. We just don't want to go anywhere, and Rosy is pretty much stuck underneath an a/c vent. I mean, we are able to bounce from one indoor spot to another, and there is no shoveling of driveways and sidewalks, be we are still a little more stuck than normal.

Friday evening it cooled a bit, and we ran down to the beach for an hour or so, then swung by DQ for stunningly over-priced ice cream, so I hope all that good fun stretched over into yesterday when we did nothing. I mean, we put the no in nothing. No. Thing.  I didn't even change out of pajammies until it was time to make lunch, which was whatever leftovers could be gathered onto a [paper] plate. The kids played on all the electronic devices that parents are warned against letting their children spend too many hours in a row on. . .for hours upon hours.

These are proof that we did something other than surf the web, play video games, and watch Netflix over the weekend. 

A day or two marked by sloth usually sends me spiraling into a chasm of regret and self-loathing. Ofttimes, I even feel bad about taking a nap in the middle of the day, though I don't begrudge others who nap. In fact, I may even think, Dude, you need a nap. Crazy, right? Rest is difficult for me.

I'm a recovering Martha who feels determined to work her way into the good graces of the Lord who is in the next room. Except He doesn't work that way.

"As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 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 10:38-42).

I always feel so bad for Martha. I mean, if she doesn't bake the bread, cut the veggies, and broil the fish, no one gets to eat. She wants Jesus to be impressed, and if she could just get a little bit of help setting the table, they could all visit together around her meal, right? All she's doing is asking Jesus to get Mary off her rear and send her in to help her! Is it asking too much? Does he even care?

Jesus doesn't even address that question. Does he care. (Have you ever felt that way? God, do you even care? Do you see what I'm going through here? Make him stop being hurtful! Make my children choose obedience! Tell her to change! Make that sickness take a hike!)

Oh, he cared. He'd been listening to Martha's huffs and mutters and the banging of pots and pans and slamming of cupboard doors. She was not invisible to him. But Mary was not hungry for dinner; she was starving for the Bread of Life, and Jesus wasn't about to let her go without.

The problem wasn't the food prep; it was Martha's focus. She was distracted by many things. Jesus was IN HER LIVING ROOM, and she was missing him! She could have sat down next to Mary and peeled her bowl of potatoes right there.

She may have been serving, but her heart was far from those whom she was serving. Service isn't about the service; it's about the people your serving. In fact she was so upset and worried that not only was her attitude towards her sister becoming harsh and critical, she was also questioning Jesus' character! Does he care.

Serving just to impress someone else isn't serving. 
Serving in order to control the details isn't serving.
Serving with bitterness and self-pity ruins the act of service.
Serving to prove your worth doesn't work.

Ouch. Martha is my New Testament doppleganger. I'm trying to take on some Mary qualities. Can Jesus just sit on the countertop in the kitchen and chat with me while I wash up this 37th sink of dishes? Of course, he can be present with me in my serving. Unless I am too distracted and upset and worried about all the things. All the things I'm doing and all the things someone else isn't doing. Unless I'm too busy banging pots and feeling rejected that I wouldn't be able to hear him anyway.

Sometimes, I have to step away. Sometimes unless the hands are resting, my heart can't rest either.

So days like yesterday are in order.

Thank-you, God, for the gift of rest. Help me not to scorn it.

One thing I love, love, love about the story of Martha is that later, when Jesus comes back to town four days after her beloved brother Lazarus dies, she runs out to meet him. Mary, however, cannot push past her hurt at Jesus' delay, and stays home.  "If you had been here, my brother would not have died!" Martha cries. "But I know now that God will give you whatever you ask." She takes her pain right to him. And then Jesus shares with her one of the most profound truths about himself, and it has nothing to do with all her good works and everything to do with who he is: 

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” 
(John 11:25-27).

I'd say that Martha's had a bit of a growth spurt since that time she copped an attitude in the kitchen. Her faith was confirmed when Lazarus strutted out of that cave into hers and Mary's arms a few minutes later.

So take that afternoon off, pour yourself some sweet tea, sit on the front porch, and rest in the presence of the only One who brings life from death. And if you have to wash that 38th load of dishes or tackle Mt. Laundry or rock a fussy baby at 2 in the morning, save a place for Him to join you in the quiet of your heart. He knows that you have lots of work to do. He knows about the dishes and the laundry and the baby. He knows that you have to feed the people and that they will want food again in less time than it takes for you to clean up from the last meal. Let your acts of service be acts of worship, and you'll find yourself indeed sitting at his feet, and it won't be taken away from you. 


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