As Mother’s Day approaches I am intrigued by the story of Mary and Martha entertaining Jesus for a meal. While Martha is slaving away in the kitchen, Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha tells Jesus to tell her to help serve the meal. Jesus responds to Martha forthrightly but tenderly: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things." Martha was worrying about something that was quite important to her, providing a meal for Jesus and His disciples.
But how important was this compared with other priorities? What was it that Martha was missing? Could it be that Martha was missing time in the Word of God? Jesus said, ”Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you.”
People make choices. They are a part of life. In Deuteronomy 30:19, the prophet Moses declared, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live."
I am sure that there are many Marys out there saying that there should be more time spent socializing. I am also sure that there are an equal number of Martha’s out there saying that there should be more work done. There isn’t time to socialize when we can be getting more done.
Maybe a just balance between the two is in order. While Mary could be more motivated to work, Martha could be more motivated to socialize. To be healthy we need to be balanced in other areas as well. According to Gerhard William Helter, III, one of the founders of the National Wellness Conference, he defines wellness as an active process through which people become more aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. Areas here include having a healthy balance of the mind, body and spirit.
Christian wellness could be defined as having a healthy appreciation for the forgiveness, salvation and eternal life that have been given to believers by God, through Jesus Christ. Well-being in each dimension of a believer’s life is important. Willingly making choices toward improving one’s health and well-being in each area is important so that one may more fully worship God with one’s entire being, become a more effective servant to one’s neighbor, and be a better steward of what God has given him.
Using this definition I would encourage the Marthas to take time to be more aware of what they are missing in Jesus. I would encourage them to take the time to find a closer walk with Him. Also, what if they are not making healthy choices in other areas of life like getting enough rest and sleep? How can they be effective relationally if they are too exhausted from this deficit? It is also important that they get enough exercise. Marthas are capable of making sure others get the necessary exercise, rest, and sleep, but are not willing to do that for themselves. It is important that they find a way to get this balance in their own lives or else they will be heading toward “burnout.” One way to look at burnout is to think about all of us having emotional bank accounts. If we continually make withdrawal after withdrawal and never make a deposit, eventually our emotional bank account will look more like some peoples’ real bank accounts, overdrawn.
It is when we are emotionally overdrawn, or burned out, that the enemy has a chance to attack us, because we are most vulnerable in this state. Let us not forget that he comes to steal and kill and destroy. We must not give him any stronghold in our life, because we are unwilling to work on our own wellness.
I think an important gift to mothers this Mother’s Day, would be to help them gain wellness in all areas of their lives. By considering the story of Mary and Martha, they might learn to not only love and care for their families and themselves, but to also be more empowered to love Jesus with their entire being.