Last week’s blog post discussed my journey in striving to be a godly woman and how my need for perfection became a barrier between God and myself. You can read about it HERE. While writing that piece, I kept thinking of this story found in Luke 10:38-42:
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.
Have you ever been in a situation similar to Martha’s? I can recall knowing guests were about to arrive at my own house where I would be hosting them. Such information would send me into a perfectionism frenzy. I wanted the house to look perfect. I would furiously scrub toilets, vacuum, stock the pantry shelves, and start looking around at my family with orders for them to do the same. Martha becomes distraught with her own sister’s lack of help; such a situation sounds like my own frustrations when I felt my husband and daughter were not doing enough to help me prepare for guests. I expected all those around me to join in on the perfectness, as Martha wanted of Mary.
I have been a Martha, and like her own need to have perfectionism, perfect became a distraction for what really mattered. Instead of focusing on the fellowship I would enjoy with my guests and family, I became too caught up in the preparations of making things perfect.
In Martha’s defense, she wasn’t having any regular guest at her house, she was hosting the Messiah! I would likely be highly concerned with the condition of my toilets and pantry too. But, Jesus reminds Martha that perfection in His presence is not needed. His gentle response to Martha are words that remind me as well.
I need to choose what is better.
Because better is Jesus.
And Jesus is the only perfection I need.
Martha is still a great example of how we should see the value in ministering to others by having them into our home. We should make our spaces comfortable and inviting to guests; a place where the love of God is seen. However, like any ministry, we can’t let the need for perfectionism in our serving hinder us from a relationship with Jesus.