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6th December: Feeling Hard Done-by?

Martha, you are fretting and fussing about so many things. Lk 10:41 (NEB)

We must all have thought that Martha was justified in her complaint. After all, she was hostess to Jesus, who had arrived unexpectedly, and she was busy with `elaborate preparations' (JBP) in a manner suitable for her Lord. Her only offence seemed to be that she resented being left to carry this burden alone. It had to be done -- it would be done sooner if the work were shared -- and there was her sister not lifting a finger to help!

Is not our situation sometimes very similar? There is often so much work to do that we wonder how we can ever get through it; if it is skimped, the patients may suffer. Furthermore, we feel we must, as Christians, be extra conscientious. Each patient represents Jesus, offering us a unique problem, demanding as much thought, care and service as we would give to him who said, `Inasmuch as you do it for them you do it for me'. But it does seem hard, when there are others who could see our situation and give us a hand instead of saying `it's not my job'. It is easy to become resentful and harassed, especially when our times of spiritual renewal are being crowded out, or are fading into torpor and sleep. But remember, this crowded life is what we expect as doctors and were promised as Christians.

Although it needs discipline and forethought, our life must be organised so that Mary's `good part' gets its share of our active thought; so that in the rush we do not (like Martha) lose touch with him. In Mark 1:32-35 we read that Jesus had a busy, unexpected evening casualty session, but he was up early the next morning for prayer. The peace that he promised, unlike the world's peace, is beyond understanding because it garrisons our heart and mind in the middle of turmoil and care. It comes from contact with him who shares the burden and gives us strength (Jn 4:27).

Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let out ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace --
The peace of God

J G Whittier

Further reading: Lk 10:38-42. Phil 4:4-7.


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