Did you ever have a childhood? Do you remember? Were you cognizant of being deeply loved or was that missing from your awareness? Do you remember when you thought your upbringing was normal? Can you describe a time that you remember feeling loved, being held or praised by your parent(s)?
When a child is loved, held and taught by a good parent there is a certain kind of mutuality that bonds the parent and child together.
The loved child is able to take correction and wants to please the loved parent. Even an imperfect, demanding parent may be loved by the child. There is a need in a child’s heart to please the parent.
Imperfect and demanding children still need to be loved by the parent. They are committed to seeing the child learn to act in loving ways.
The story of Mary and Martha reminds me of two kinds of childlike response. Can you see yourself in one or the other?
The first thing we notice about the sisters is the way they behave like siblings. Martha acts like an older sister who is miffed about the younger not being as responsible as she is. She has a need to point out the lack in the other.
If our sense of self-worth and measurement is based on performing all the right actions, we will start to notice that others are not as committed as we. We become tattletales.
Oh yes… Martha is an adult, but she still struggles like an insecure child. There is a ‘Martha-like’ insecurity that causes us to find our importance and self-worth in doing the right thing.
Mary doesn’t say anything at this point, but already knew what her sister was like. Maybe, Mary wanted to be with Jesus because there was immediate acceptance and approval, not like the on/off love of a demanding sibling or parent.
Jesus scolds Martha in the kindest possible way and reminds her that there is one, all-surpassing good thing in life that she was missing out on. Mary found it and it was irremovable. Mary was a worshipper. She adored Jesus and made sure to get close to the One she loved.