Setting Aside the Lists and Drawing Nearer

Distractions. To-do lists. Comparisons. Hungry children. Squabbles. Self-imposed doubts. Self-imposed standards. Interruptions. Unmet expectations. A child trying a new instrument. Deadlines.

And yet all I can think about (besides the above list of everyday distractions) is Martha. Not Jesus, exactly, but Martha. (Sorry, Lord, I know this week should be about You and Your Passion. Forgive me for my distraction.)

Martha, dear Martha, so busy with serving. Martha, rebuked by Jesus in the past (Luke 10:38-41) for worrying about too many things. Martha, the woman I might silently shame today if I’d been there. This woman is still serving Jesus while her sister, again, takes on a more contemplative role (literally) at Jesus’ feet.

How good of Mary to sit and listen at Jesus’ feet. How humble of Mary to anoint Jesus’ feet with this most precious of oils.

Yet it’s Martha I cannot stop thinking about, because it’s servant-Martha in whom I see myself.

So busy. Always with something to do in my home, rarely without some task to attend to. Too often frazzled. Definitely meeting the very present needs of the people in my midst, knowing Jesus waits nearby . . . yet I’m not present to Him. And this very week, when He wants me to draw near . . . will I?

I’m pondering Martha and her walk with Christ. She’s been transformed by time with the Lord. Instead of bustling about anxious and frustrated, I see a woman living courageously in her calling: joyful service. I see Martha at peace, allowing Jesus to be at peace in her home, while Mary anoints His feet. Maybe she seems “in the background,” but Saint John found her serving here worthy of mentioning. It must be for a reason.

I’m still pondering the lesson, but I will draw near to Christ like Martha did. I want the same transformation I see in her: one that gave her peace in her duties and made her more like our Savior.

I will draw near to Christ like Martha did. I want the same transformation I see in her: one that gave her peace in her duties and made her more like our Savior. Click To Tweet

Are you familiar with this Dutch artist’s rendition of Christ’s visit?

Gina Fensterer is a Colorado native at heart, but the West Coast beach life suits her just fine. She currently lives in small coastal area of California with her husband and six children. She loves the Jesus prayer, coffee at any time of day, homemade salsa, photography, and sleepy toddler snuggles. You can find out more about her here.


  • Reply
    April 15, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Thank you, I am a Martha and often compare myself to others, family or friends that are, to my mind, more devout, holier. I feel like a mess next to some people and your devotion reminded me that there are many ways to be near our Lord. Have a blessed Holy Week!

  • Reply
    Hillarie Van Zanten
    April 15, 2019 at 8:08 am

    How much your thoughts on today’s readings resonate with me. This past week was filled with feelings of being unappreciated. Last night in talking to a friend it struck me how horrible and petty I sounded for not receiving the recognition I felt I deserved for the hard work I have put in. Lord as Martha did, let me draw near to you through my works and not focus on receiving recognition from others.
    Happy Holy Week!

    • Reply
      April 15, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Hillarie, I can relate! It’s a struggle in life, isn’t it? Have a blessed Holy Week. Saint Martha, pray for us!

  • Reply
    April 15, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Thank you, Gina. for your beautiful reflection. Until today. I never notice before that Martha is mentioned. I think I focused on the other aspects of the narrative and what they signify. Martha is not grumbling, but serving. Mary is not merely reclining at Jesus’ feet, but serving as well-serving Jesus in anointing His feet. I thought of the Sacrament of Confirmation when I read the Gospel today. In Conformation we are anointed with oil, sealed with the Holy Spirit, to be strengthened and commissioned to go forth as soldiers of Christ. Here Jesus is anointed with oil: to be strengthened before the next and final part of HIs mission on earth: HIs passion and death on the cross.

    • Reply
      April 15, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Mary, I love your reflection! Thank you for the connections you’ve made, also. It shows me how we’re all called to serve in different, but needed, ways. And the anointing as strengthening, wow, so good.

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