On any given holiday, I spend the entire day prior to and the morning of the holiday in the kitchen. The kitchen is my comfort zone and it’s where I put my creative ideas to the test. I love being up to my ears in confectioner’s sugar, unsalted butter, cream cheese, and extra large eggs! The hum of my mixer is comforting and peaceful. I try to make everyone’s favorite desserts; so they will be happy. As you may have guessed, everyone likes something different: lemon blossoms, chocolate cake, coconut crème pie, chocolate chip cookies, carrot cake, and peanut butter pie. This is my passion—feeding the hearts of loved ones through their tummies. It makes me glad for them to request their favorite.
I am often caught unaware with guests arriving—typically, I bite off more than I can chew. It is not unusual to find me with flour on my chin, cookie dough in my hair, and icing on my fingers—fifteen minutes from serving time. These guests are always of utmost importance to me, and it is my desire to serve them. I never want someone else to frost my cake or baby my cookies to the stage of perfection. Honestly, I do not want help; although any of my sisters, nieces, or nephews would gladly assist me. I am prone to recall Jesus’ visit with Mary and Martha when I’m twirling around in the kitchen:
“…a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.’” -Luke 10:38b-40
When I read that Scripture, I pause and ask, “Was there any point where Martha was enjoying her service?” “Exactly why did she eagerly invite Jesus into her home?” She had this extreme opportunity to serve Jesus and spend time with Him. Instead of getting down to the nitty gritty, she spent her time working in a vicious circle, whining about what her sister wasn’t doing, and wasting valuable time. I want to believe that there was some level of purity in Martha’s actions. I want to hope she had a desire, deep down inside to express her love for Jesus through service. But, Scripture is pretty clear concerning Jesus’ reaction to Martha’s somewhat sassy demand:
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken from her.” -Luke 10:41-42
The greatest lesson I have learned from Martha is that her instinct to serve wasn’t necessarily wrong; however, her motivation and attitude were flawed. She wanted recognition and pity from Jesus. Martha wanted Jesus to force her sister to do as much work as she was doing. What matters most to me when I am serving? It is the satisfaction and contentment of the ones I’m serving, and how my actions please God. When all of the cookies have melted in their mouths and only crumbs remain of the chocolate cake, I pray that the sweetness remaining with them are my smile, my graciousness, my sacrifice, and an obsession for my sweet treats…always coming back for more! I pray that God consistently finds me to be a good and faithful servant—a positive steward of my talents and gifts.