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When Claire McGarry invites her pastor to dinner, she sees a direct correlation to Jesus coming to dinner at the home of Martha and Mary.

I recently invited our pastor over for dinner. Life was chaotic leading up to it, with my housekeeping falling to the wayside. As I looked around at the mess and dirt in my home that day, the Gospel passage in Luke 10 came to mind. Jesus comes to dinner and the two sisters make different choices: Mary chooses to be at the feet of Jesus and Martha chooses to serve.

Clearly, in this scenario, my priest was Jesus. What I needed to decide was who was I going to be: Martha or Mary?

We all have a Martha and Mary within us. Most of us tend to nurture one more than the other, however, causing that side of us to dominate in most situations.

I’m a Martha through and through. I love her feistiness, and I know she’s a girl that gets things done. As much as others try to peg her as the “bad sister,” she’s my hero.

But even heroes have places within that need to grow. For Martha, she needed to put limits on her “doing for Jesus” so she could focus more on “being with Jesus,” balancing herself out.




In light of that, was I going to expend all my energy on “doing”—whipping my house into shape and cooking a complicated meal so when my pastor arrived, my physical surroundings were ready but I was too exhausted to actually be happy he was here?

Or was I going to put limits on my to-do list, focusing only on the absolute must-haves so my house and meal were good enough, but I still had the bandwidth to enjoy his visit?


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Putting limits on my preparations wasn’t a one-time choice. I had to keep leaning on God to help me choose limits over and over again. #CatholicMom

Fortunately, I chose the latter. But it wasn’t just a one-time decision. As the day went on, I kept feeling that temptation to take on more and more in my preparations. I had to keep leaning on God to help me choose limits over and over again. Along with the grace He poured out came the reminder of why I was hosting in the first place: to welcome my pastor and get to know him better.

I’m happy to report that the evening was a success! Conversation flowed, my kids behaved, the meal was great, and my house passed muster. But most of all, I was present for it all—in the moment the entire time, and incredibly grateful for God’s help through it all.



Copyright 2023 Claire McGarry
Images: Canva; Hendrik Scheffer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons