Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)
TITLE: What a Friend We Have
By Tom Parsons
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Not only am I doing all the cooking by myself, but I also have to set the table, carry the servings of food into the dining room and see to it that every one of our guests is taken care of. Oh, where is that girl! She should be here helping me. Doesn’t she realize what a huge job it is to serve our guests? They are her guests as well as mine. Doesn’t she care? I’ve a good mind to tell her what I think.
I know where she is. Sitting out there with our guests, listening and asking questions, like she were one of the guests herself. This is her home, too, and she needs to be serving our guests, not acting like she is one of them. That’s it. I have to say something. This has gone far enough.
I burst into the dining room, like I am the master and my sister is my slave. “Mary, what do you mean by this? Don’t you know you’re needed in the kitchen?”
All conversation at the table stops. Every eye is looking at me. Good, I think. They all need to know how lazy my sister is. But no one speaks, not even my sister.
I turn to our guest. He is known for his wisdom and compassion. He is a preacher, after all, who tells us what God wants us to know. I am certain he will correct my sister, and make her do her part of the work. “Don’t you care,” I say to him, “that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
As soon as I speak the words, I feel a wave of shame spread over my body. After all, I have just accused my guest of not caring about me and have told him in no uncertain terms what he must do about it.
He looks at me, and his compassion is visible in his eyes. “Martha,” he says to me, “Martha, you have a lot on your mind. I appreciate your efforts to make my friends and me comfortable. You are worried and upset about many things. Perhaps too many things. Only a few things are really needed. In fact, only one thing is really needed.”
I look at him as tears well in my eyes. I realize I have not spoken well in my frenzy of work and selfish desire to have my sister do my bidding.
“Mary has chosen something better,” he says to me, his voice still soft and compassionate. “And that will never be taken away from her.”
Suddenly I realize that my way of serving our mutual friend is not the only way. My sister sat at his feet learning while I worked hard to make a pleasant meal for him. And he, divine Friend that he is, accepted the efforts we both of us in our service to him.
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