We’re talking turkeys this month at Facets of Faith, and we don’t mean sharing recipes. The holidays are here and we decided to talk about how we interact with those who might get our goat as we gather. Tracy and Jen shared earlier this month. Click on their names to catch up, or sign up to receive our email so you don’t miss a post! Stay tuned next week as we open this space with a special guest. As for me (Kim)? Well, here’s my recipe for taming those turkeys.
She stood in the doorway, drying her hands on the towel. Pressured by the weight of to-do’s, she looked around for her sister. Surely she knew the importance of this meal. Surely her sister knew that she couldn’t do all of the work all on her own?
Her mind checked off the task she just completed as her eyes skimmed the crowd. One down and sixteen to go, she thought wryly. Now where is that sister of hers?
The familiar frustration began to bubble inside. A slight breeze blew in a whiff of the food cooking in the pot. Almost done, she thought. But the places hadn’t been set and there was more food to be made.
Frustration turned to irritation. How could her sister leave her in a lurch like this? Today of all days? She was just as excited to have such special guests at her house; she wanted everything to be perfect.
She caught a glimpse of her sister’s hair. There she was! Ruffled and flustered, she headed over, determined to give her sister a piece of her mind. How dare she . . .
Oh, she was with him. How could her sister just sit there? Entranced. Enthralled. She caught another whiff of the food. Any longer and it’d be ruined.
She stepped closer and cleared her throat. Surely that would signal her need for help. Nothing —not even twitch. She coughed. She might as well be invisible. She was about to say her sister’s name when he looked up at her, their most treasure guest. Didn’t he know what a turkey her sister was being? Didn’t he realize how much help she needed?
Before she knew what was happening her words tumbled out in complaint. “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” (Luke 10:40b)
Special occasions and family dinners bring out the best in us, don’t they? (insert eye roll emoji here) And when the turkey we’re dealing with isn’t the one we’re sticking in the oven, those special times can sometimes turn into emotional war zones. So how do we handle those people who just seem to push our button at just the wrong time?
I love this story of Martha and her sister, Mary. They real. They’re siblings. And they don’t always get along. Martha wants everything perfect while Mary? Well, she must be the extrovert of the two because she’s always found around people.
Seriously though. Isn’t it great that we can look at Scripture and catch a glimpse of . . . ourselves?
I know. Most of us would like to admit we’re Martha and Martha is doing what is right. She’s scurrying about getting the house and food ready for the party. She’s serving and working and going about her business until . . . she can’t find her sister, Mary. Enter the whining. Can you imagine standing before Jesus and saying, “L o r d . . .”. I liken it to the times my kids would call out my name: “M o m . . .” Each letter drawn out for maximum impact.
Is that what Martha sounded like? Exasperated? Frustrated? Weary?
But the truth of the matter is this —she did the right thing. Think about that for a moment: she called out to Jesus. She didn’t turn to her turkey of a sister and begin to chew. No, she turned toward the One whom she believed could help.
She wanted to get the job done, the dinner finished, and people fed so she fixed her eyes on the One who loves her, and who loves her sister.
And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1b-2a, NLT
We, too, can do that when we’re faced with those challenging people sitting at the table across from us. We can shift our gaze from their turkey-behavior (insert what you’re imagining here), fix our eyes firmly on Jesus, and remember there are days when the turkey is us. We can pray for peace to fill the room, for strength to zip our lips, or a supernatural connection that only Jesus can create.
Every person has a story that has made them to be the person they are today. My mom taught me that, and she’s right. Think of the most challenging person you’ve encountered within the last few days. Now take a moment and call to mind what you know about their story. Is there sorrow? Loss? Brokenness of sorts? Has the pain been healed or the challenges resolved?
Would you be willing to step into their mess? (insert blank stare emoji here)
I know. Maybe not. But what if? What if that’s the very thing God is calling you to do this holiday season? What if that conversation at that particular dinner or brunch or party is where God will shine His light of mercy and grace not only on you, but through you?
Yes, Jesus said that Mary chose the most important thing —Himself. But I think Martha learned that truth, too. People are worth stepping into their mess so we can offer the grace and comfort that Jesus has offered to us. Even with those turkeys that might get our goat now and then.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT
How do you deal with the turkeys in your life? Feel free to comment below or jump over to our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!