martha wouldn’t cut the pie

I can be one of those people that wants things to be just so.

I tend to get into Martha-mode faster than you can say, “A Good Thing.”

Of course I’m talking about the perfection of entertaining and celebrating the holidays that is synonymous with Martha Stewart.

But like much of the world has done, let us forget Martha. These days we have Pinterest and a million other images of perfection convincing us of new ways to make our celebrations magazine worthy.

In the process, those of us who aren’t master crafters or party planners or prize-winning culinary geniuses end up feeling like what we do just doesn’t measure up.

All of our efforts at true hospitality seem to get overshadowed by our attempts to showcase our perfection.

To be hospitable is to be friendly and generous in receiving and entertaining guests, visitors and strangers.

But what of the hospitality we show our families in the process?

In the midst of all of my holiday preparations, am I showing the same kindness, friendliness and generosity to my own family that I would show our guests?

Sadly, I can answer this one for you.

No. I do not.

More times than I care to admit I am short-tempered with my kids for having the nerve to leave a mess in the kitchen after their lunch or I’m frazzled with Ryan because he’s had the audacity to leave his coffee cup on the end-table and doesn’t-he-know-we-have-people-coming-in-the-next-half-hour?

And the message I send is this.

Dear family, the appearance of our house/menu/decor is more important to me than treating you with love and goodwill.

So I am on a journey to be a lot less Martha.

I’m on a journey to be less “distracted with much serving.”

And more intentionally-minded to choose “the good portion.”

Take for instance the pecan pies I make for Thanksgiving.

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Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And 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.” But the Lord answered her, “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 away from her.” {Luke 10:38-42, ESV}

I can save my pies to be perfect and pretty for Thanksgiving Day and our company. I can get worked up into a tizzy and allow myself to be troubled and anxious over the food I’ll serve.

Or I can show a little grace and cut at least one pie so that Ryan can savor a piece (or three) leading up to the big day. In the grand scheme of life, what am I most concerned about?

Serving a picture perfect pie to guests or serving my family with love that says, “sure, have a slice on Monday?”

The thing is this. It seems nice and neat to be able to just say, “sure.” It would appear to be the easy choice to see the logic and love behind simple measures to extend graciousness to our families.

But sadly, that isn’t always my gut-response. Sadly, my sin-nature and my flesh wants to exalt itself in the appearances and facades of perfection.

So each day, I am making a choice. At every turn I am asking God to show me where I can budge and give. I am petitioning Him to allow me to show His love, first and foremost to my family. Today this means, I’ll cut the pie.

“If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned (or sacrifice my family on the altar of household perfection, my translation), but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong doing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” {I Corinthians 13:3-7, ESV} 

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