kiser_tamiI'm please to introduce Tami Kiser, also known around the web as "Smart Martha", to the family!  Watch for monthly contributions here from Tami and please join me in welcoming her to the team of contributors!  Lisa Hendey

Most of us probably are familiar with the Martha/Mary story in the Bible.  We all cringe when we hear Jesus reprimand Martha. For what? Doing the dishes?  No, that wasn’t it.  Martha gets reprimanded for her anxiety and busyness.  "You are anxious and worried about many things, but only one thing is important . . ." Jesus told her.

Yep, that sums it up for most of us I am guessing.  Most of us get caught up in our busy lives, going from one thing to the next.  And then we worry about what needs to get done and what wasn’t done.

But, we really do have a lot of "stuff" we have to get done.  Our children will get left at soccer practice.  Our dirty laundry will take over the laundry room.  And our husbands will starve.   If we don’t worry about these things, then who will?

Well, first of all, let’s get Smart about this.  And this is what I mean about Smart: God has told us that when we seek His Kingdom first, everything else that we need will be given to us. (Matthew )  Also, God tells that all things work out for the good for those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) If we have faith in God, we know that if we put Him first and love Him, then everything will be alright, better than alright. This is even if there is suffering or loss involved.  And hasn’t this been our own experience?

This is the message in the Mary/Martha story.  Mary has chosen Jesus first.  She knows when to spend time with Jesus even though her sister and the dishes are calling. Her priorities are perfect. Mary is Smart enough to see now is the time to be with Jesus.  The dishes can wait.  This seems so obvious to us now, but how often do we brush our children aside for an email we have to finish, skip a daily Mass for a trip to the store, or pretend we don’t see someone in order to avoid a lengthy conversation.  Were those opportunities to spend time with Christ and put him first?  Maybe.

Sometimes the way we put Jesus first is to do the dishes.  We can do our tasks as wife and mother well.  This pleases God.  We can also spend time visiting with others while doing dishes—like our child or spouse.  Or we can actually pray while doing the dishes.

This is where we need to be Smart. Like Martha, my heart that loves Jesus often gets shut out by the busyness of life.  I just go, and go, and forget to look to Christ.  I just do the dishes.  I don’t pay attention to whether I should be doing the dishes now or even turn my thoughts to God.  I simply forget.

So a Smart thing to do is to use reminders.  Daily prayers, Mass, quiet times, spiritual reading, fellowship with other Christians, etc. are all ideas to slow us down and return us to Jesus’ feet.  Our goal is to live our lives at Jesus’ feet.  Sometimes this may mean actually sitting down and praying, but  it may also mean going about our daily tasks with our hearts still turned to him.

Being Smart in this way is the primary message of my Smart Martha ministry.

I explore this Mary/Martha message with women so that we can help one another live every moment in the presence of Christ.

Although being Smart in this way is the primary goal of Smart Martha, I also spend a good deal of time sharing Smarter ways to do the tasks of our vocation as wife and mother.  In other words, Smarter ways to get those dishes done.  We want to work Smarter not harder, so we can use our extra time and energy to achieve the first goal and to be more present to our family and friends.

Copyright 2010 Tami Kiser