Monday, June 24, 2013

A Life-transforming Decision

What difference has Jesus made in the lives of women?  In the way women are seen?  Treated?  These questions came to my mind as I read the next chapter of Orberg's book, Who is this man?.

Consider the story of Mary and Martha in the Gospel.  Martha was doing all of the work while Mary sat at Jesus' feet, listening.  Martha gets upset, but Jesus tells her that Mary has chosen the better way.

We read this story and make it about busyness versus learning from Jesus.  We make it a comparison of a woman who is doing housework versus one who is stretching her faith, and we nod wisely and say, "Yes, one must take time to sit at Jesus' feet."  In our interpretation, we see it as some kind of balancing act, certain that when Mary is finished with her daily devotions, she'll go back in the kitchen and cook.  We don't see Mary's choice as life changing; instead we see it as wise time management.

But that's not what it's about.  Mary's decision was radical.  Mary decides to not be who she was and to be someone else -- to be a disciple, sitting at Jesus' feet and learning from him.  Ortberg writes, "Marthda did what the culture valued in women: cleaned the house and cooked the food.  Mary did what the culture valued in men: became a disciple".

It's a life transforming decision.  And Jesus approved.

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