I love people. I love to chat with friends, spend time with family, and generally enjoy the blessing of relationship. BUT. I am a task-oriented person. Or maybe I just can’t do both at the same time?
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?” (Luke 10:38-40).
In this story of Mary and Martha, we usually see Mary as the relationship person and Martha as the task person. How many times has someone asked you, “Are you a ‘Mary’ or a ‘Martha’?” I usually say I am a Martha…but the truth is that I am a little of both. I am a lot like my mom.
My whole family loves to visit at my Mom’s house. We love to eat, talk and laugh. We love to walk through the back yard and look at her flowers and Daddy’s vegetable garden. But Momma gets rattled trying to hold conversations and continue to get everything on the table. The problem is that she would love nothing more than to sit down and soak in every word we say, but of course that distracts her from the cooking! Our family solution to this? Lots of delicious appetizers to eat while we hang around and visit. Yum!
When we moved to Arizona, we joined the most wonderful church, King of Kings, PCA. Hospitality is in the DNA of this church. In all of our moves, we have never had so many chances to enjoy fellowship in our house…but I guess we had kind of avoided it. It was mostly me. I wasn’t sure I could do it.
So the Lord has sent me wonderful role models of thoughtful gracious hostessing like Tracy and Cati and a real live Martha. And He sent me Melissa and Jodi to hold my hand and coach me through it. We had never had much more than a kid’s birthday party and the occasional potluck at our house before moving here. Now we regularly host families from church and our homeschool friends. We have even had dinners of 25-30 people a few times. But I have learned that I am just like my mom – if someone arrives before I get the last 10 minutes of tasks done..those same tasks can take me 25 minutes. I am in slow motion once the people get here. I want to be the Mary, but I need to be the Martha!
So my mother is hilarious and humble too. She tells me often, “I can’t believe I got to be this old and just learned [insert the new thing she just learned]!” What I love about that is how she keeps on growing and improving, not staying stuck because “I’ve always done things this way.” So it is not that surprising that she and I came to a similar conclusion even though we live 1700 miles apart. We have realized that we can enjoy the relationships with people better if we get the work done ahead of time.
How do you like that? Tasks AND people. I am trying to apply this to the other parts of my life and be more disciplined about the tasks. I want to be more about the people, but still get stuff done. I still have a really long way to go in this department! Being more discipline in my morning routine helps. And keeping my to do list more reasonable is good too. But for me, the key to having joy in my work is not letting it squeeze out the relationships. I also enjoy the relationships more, when the work gets done.
So are you Tasks? Or are you People? The Lord wants us to be both. As we saw yesterday, the way to do this is to “let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor 16:14).