Mary, Martha, and the business of busy(ness)
“…(Mary) sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.” (Luke 10:39, NIV)
It must have been frustrating for Martha, the sight of her sister Mary just sitting there at the feet of Jesus, not doing a thing to help out. I can almost picture Martha rushing around the house frantically, tending to every houseguest – a pitcher of water in one hand and a dish cloth in the other, pouring drinks and cleaning up spills, all the while making casual conversation and praying that the food she’s preparing will be sufficient for the hungry disciples. “Why isn’t Mary helping me?” Martha thinks to herself. “I can’t do it all by myself!” But then, she glances at Jesus, and she gains an entirely new perspective on things.
While Martha was caught up in the busy(ness) of the moment, Mary was practicing what one might call “intentional inefficiency”. She had set her mind on doing the very thing that, on the surface level, looked like it would not render many results, but which was, in fact, the very best way of doing things. Jesus praised Mary for her intentional inefficiency and reprimanded Martha for her attention to the business of the day.
When is the last time you practiced intentional inefficiency, that thing that took extra time but was time well-spent? Maybe you wrote a letter, not a copy and paste type of email to multiple individuals, but an actual handwritten letter to a loved one. Or perhaps you chose intentionally to make a phone call instead of sending a text, even though you knew the person you were calling would tell you all about their day. Maybe you parked a little further from the front door, had a conversation with the clerk at the gas station, or helped someone carry their groceries to their car.
I would encourage you to do the little things that make a world of difference in the life of another person. These small acts of patience and kindness might make all the difference in your life as well.