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At the Master's Feet
by Mary Elder-Criss
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At the Master's Feet
Mary Elder-Criss

The heat in the kitchen was stifling. All day she had baked, cleaned, and prepared food for the meal. She longed to sit and rest her tired feet for just a bit, but there was still so much more to do. Wiping a damp strand of hair back off her forehead with the back of her hand, she sighed loudly. “It might go just a little easier on me in here, if I had a little help,” she muttered under her breath, while shooting a disgusted look in her sister’s direction.

Voices raised in discussion filtered into the kitchen from the patio, as she removed the freshly baked bread from the warming oven. Quickly slicing it, she placed it on the tray along with fresh butter, fruit, and cheeses. As she delivered the laden platter to her guests, she shot her sister a venomous look, and then stormed back to the kitchen to finish preparing the rest of the meal.

“Wonderful for her!” she thought to herself. “She gets to sit out there and relax on the pillows where one can feel a refreshing breeze and talk to the Master, while I, on the other hand, continue to labor in this sweatbox.”

“Of course, that’s nothing different. I have always been the worker of the family. Her problem is she was coddled from day one. While I labor and toil in the garden, she gets to stay inside and take care of the home. While I carry the huge pots of water from the well, she is sheltered from the sun while she darns clothes. I care for the livestock, and milk the cows, she gets to gather eggs. She is much too fragile to do anything strenuous, I suppose.”

“Today is no different. I have been on my feet since before dawn, preparing the meal for the Master and His disciples. Even now, there is still so much work to be done, and yet, as usual, I am doing it alone. Surely, the Master understands that I could use a little assistance!”

Quickly turning at the sound of a hissing noise, she sees the kettle boiling over. Grabbing it hurriedly, the hot metal burns her hand. Gasping in pain, she unthinkingly drops it, and the bubbling water splashes up to scorch the bottom of her robes.

“That’s IT!” she flares. “I have had enough of this!” Bunching the sodden material up in one hand, she storms out onto the patio where her sister sits gazing up into the Master’s face, as she listens intently to his words.

Interrupting, she rages, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? I have worked my fingers to the bone to prepare this meal. It is stifling in the kitchen, and here she sits, reclining at your feet, where it is cool. I have just burned my hand badly, but would she know about it? Not likely, as she is not sharing in the labor. I cannot continue to do it all alone. Therefore, tell her to help me!”

Shooting her sister a victorious look, she thinks to herself, “Now she’ll pay for leaving me to do all the work. Surely, the Master will have a word of condemnation for her laziness, lounging out here, while I have labored by myself. Good enough for her, is what I say. It’s about time someone put her in her place.” Crossing her arms, she taps a foot impatiently as she waits for the words of discipline for her sister that will surely follow.

The recipient of the debate, she sits, head bowed. She lowers her eyes to the patio floor before her. She realizes that her sister is furious with her, and she supposes that she is deserving of it as usual. Her sister always seems to be upset with her for one reason or another. It seems that nothing she ever does is satisfactory in her eyes. She feels the Master’s gaze upon her, and waits humbly for his reprimand. It is with great surprise, when the words of rebuke she expects to be directed her way, turn out to be words of approval instead.

“My daughter,” the Lord answered kindly, looking at her sister, “you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and your sister has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Her face stinging in embarrassment, her look of vindication quickly fades to one of shame. She had fretted over the lack of help her sister was providing with the domestic duties, and had lost sight of the fact that sometimes the most important thing was just to listen to the word of Jesus.

She had let the demands of providing hospitality to her guests overshadow the reason that she had invited Him to her home to begin with. Her sister truly had remembered the most important thing of all. Raising her eyes, she asks for her sister’s forgiveness, and joins her at their Master’s feet. Suddenly, her concerns about serving the perfect feast fades by comparision. The meal can wait. Instead, she allows Him to feed her soul.

Copyright September, 2003

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Member Comments
Member Date
Debra L. McKeen Sparks 29 Sep 2003
Mary - it's wonderful!! Of course! Debbie
Violet Nesdoly 27 Sep 2003
Mary, this story is written from the viewpoint of someone with inside knowledge of how it feels to be the one slaving in the kitchen - have you, by any chance, been there? (I have!)In the para. that begins "The recipient of the debate..." I would substitute the first 'she' with the person's name (too many 'she's' and so reference is unclear - although in this case, that would give away identity of characters, I know). I enjoyed this. ~ Violet


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