Cats have gotten it right. They don’t worry about anything. And everything turns out just ducky. I wish I could be like them. Or failing that, I wish I could be like the unflappable Mary of the Bible–the one who sat by Jesus’ feet and listened to his every word, while her sister behaved like Martha Stewart on 15 cups of coffee. We should remember Mary’s response this Thanksgiving, when things start to get out of hand, and we start to boil over like the brussels sprouts or the green beans casserole we’re about to serve. Here’s an excerpt from my WORRYWART’S PRAYER BOOK that explains it better:
“See, Jesus knows we worrywarts are a struggling bunch. And he knew in this instance, Martha meant well, but her anxious thoughts spiraled out of control. Rather than shooing the negativity away, she invited it in, took on the role of victim, and turned a perfectly lovely visit into an embarrassing episode for herself, Jesus,and her sister.
Had she have countered her anxieties with three positive sentences, something like This meal is turning out to be more work than I thought—but thank goodness Mary is keeping Jesus company. If we were both in the kitchen, he’d be sitting there all by his lonesome, things might have played out differently. But Martha was more involved with the process than with the person. Her mind was “distracted” with everything but her guest. God’s in the details, they say. But in this case, He was in the livingroom, waiting for her to make him feel welcome. Now Mary, on the other hand, had a different set of priorities. And it’s only one opinion, but I think she was focused, not lazy. My Friend, Lord, and Savior is in my house, she must have said to herself, and I’m going to sit and listen to what he has to say. Fact is Mary might have even guessed her sister would throw a tantrum, but she didn’t care. Whatever transpired, Mary wasn’t worried. What’s more, she was not about to put Jesus off. She didn’t say, “Okay, after I cook, and after I clean up, and after I put away the dishes…and do all the mundane things that don’t amount to a hill of beans, I will sit and visit with the one and only Son of God.”
Not on your life. When it came to Jesus, Mary was tunnel-visioned. She knew who she was dealing with, and she knew the importance he deserves. So she literally dropped everything and paid attention only to him.
Since “distraction” is our middle name, worrywarts like us can learn a lot from this story. At the top of the list is a lesson in getting our priorities straight. Because the choices we make can either bring us closer to God or push us away from him. So if we feel we’ll wind up like Martha—harried and angry—we have to make the choice that Mary did—and that is to drop everything, and take a Jesus break. Then we can ask him to free our worrywart mentality from being mired in things nobody really cares about. And ask him to remind us to “seek first the kingdom of heaven,” because then everything else will turn out okay—including the dinner.
And so will our Thanksgivings. Happy Turkey everyone.