Our kitchen looks like a mad scientist’s lab this week.

No test tubes. Just a bunch of teaspoons, tablespoons, and mixing spoons.

No mad scientist, either. Just my wife, experimenting with gravy. More accurately, gravies. Plural.

Like millions of food-loving Americans, we’re prepping for Thanksgiving. Not that I’m complaining. I like edible experiments as much as the next guy. But when your kitchen counter looks like someone pulled the pin on a gravy grenade, well, the rest of your life can feel strained. Just a tad.

You don’t need to be generating new recipes to understand how this busy season tastes. We’re all planning, thawing, creating, and making multiple runs to the grocery store. Add a few guests to the mix and you have a recipe for one stressful holiday. If you feel like you’re being pulled in different directions, you’re not alone.

You do, however, have someone in the Bible who knows how you feel. Her name was Martha, and her well-known story happens in a first-century home, when Jesus himself dropped by for a visit. While Martha was busy making gravy in the kitchen, her sister, Mary, was in the living room, sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His teaching.

Women weren’t supposed to sit at the feet of a rabbi but Mary was hungry for something more than physical food. Martha, on the other hand … Well, “… Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’” (Luke 10:40)

Martha asks Jesus some questions we all ask from time to time. “Do you care?” “Do you see what that other person is doing!” “Tell them to change!”

Those words aren’t very appetizing to Jesus. Instead of agreeing with Martha’s complaint and correcting Mary, He turns the question back to the one who asked.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)

Housework isn’t a sin. The issue in Martha’s house was actually an issue in her heart. Her problem was priority, not preparation.

C.S. Lewis put it like this: “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first and we lose both first and second things.”

It’s easy to put my job, my house, or my football team above the teaching of Jesus. Personally, I am at my most worried, anxious, and angry when I’m putting other things — usually good things — before God.

Even though we can’t have Jesus over for Thanksgiving dinner in the same way Martha and Mary did, we can still feast on His teaching by reading the Bible. You might think that sounds a little old-fashioned. So does eating turkey and gravy on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t stop us from gobbling it up in mass quantities.

The Bible offers spiritual food that never runs out, like a bottomless boat of gravy. The Words of God have the power to sate our deepest hungers and quench our strongest thirsts.

If you want to enjoy your busy life instead of being pulled apart by stress, put the words of Jesus on your plate first.

The rest, as they say, is gravy.

Gregg Madsen is the Lead Pastor of Steadfast Gretna. Reach him at gmadsen@steadfastgretna.org.

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