Choosing What Really Matters

If you made a list of ten things that really mattered in this life, what would they be? And if you made the list would you spend any of your time on them? Every day we make choices  about how we spend our time and energy--the urgent often pushing out the important.

In the story of Mary and Martha, two sisters in a family that often entertained Jesus, there were two different opinions on what really mattered. One thought that being a good host and making sure an honored guest was well fed was more important than hearing the guest speak. The other thought that having God in your house and being able to ask him questions was an opportunity too good to pass up. Besides, you could always eat later.

I have often visited a close friend or family that I haven't seen for awhile and find that they want to take me to all the tourist spots and entertain me. What I would rather do is just spend time with them and talk.

There is more to life than increasing its speed. ~ K. Gandhi

If we spent less time telling God what he should do and more time listening to what he has in mind, we might find happiness a lot sooner. ~ Winsome

When Mary sees me coming

She runs and holds me tight

She wants to know everything

We talk into the night

It's not that I'm ungrateful

And it's not that I don't see

Martha, you want things perfect

But Mary just wants me

Everyone who knows you

Admires what you can do

No one cooks or keeps a home

As beautifully as you

I know you think it's selfish

And you think that it's unfair

That while you're washing in the kitchen

Mary dries my feet with her hair

We all have priorities

What we take and what we give

We leave behind a legacy

By the way we live

You have your reputation

You chose the hostess' part

Mary left her legacy

Right here in my heart

You care about so many things

You're afraid they won't get done

But only a few things matter

And really

Only one

©Winsome Publishing 2010

Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are. ~ Chinese Proverb

Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live. ~ Margaret Fuller

Luke 10:38-42 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" 41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. [a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." ~ Todays New International Version

You have made us for yourself and we are restless till we rest in you ~ Saint Augustine

Comments 51 comments

Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Beautifully written.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Sandy, that story always gets me thinking about what I am missing when I'm so busy. Maybe if we just stopped and listened we might hear some wonderful things. =:)


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for your beautiful thoughts.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Incredible! You've written a tome with a few words! "Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are" Let's rest a moment.


De Greek profile image

De Greek 6 years ago from UK

"We leave behind a legacy By the way we live" - the legacy of insane youth, or the interpretation of that legacy that comes with maturity, I wonder? :-)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hello my friend, Hello--you are so welcome. I did a little research to add links to this subject and was surprised to find that almost all of the articles about choices involve the best phone or computer or car. I wrote this little poem because I was fascinated by the story of these two sisters and their dilemma. I am going to add to this hub because I did not want it to be perceived as a purely religious statement--I wanted to stimulate our thinking about our priorities and our choices. Thank you for your always gracious words. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Yes Micky let us do just that. If we would just pause before we speak or act for a few seconds we might live our lives differently and for the better. Thank you so much for your tour through my hubs this morning. You are such a positive influence on HP and myself. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Dimitri, when I think of the great people who have left a legacy I often see the forces that made them someone to emulate. Michael Jordan said: "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Lincoln lost most elections before finally winning some and suffered from severe depression. I ascribe to what I call the "Toddler Principle"--the toddler knows that the sooner you start failing (falling) the sooner you get to succeed. I say pick the most important thing you feel you can do in life and start failing at it until you don't. =:)

Thank you for the thoughtful comment.


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 6 years ago from Hither and Yonder

I have been contemplating the Mary/Martha dilemma a lot lately. I am so much of a Mary, and yet it seems that I am expected to take on the role of Martha. I don't understand that role and find tension in it everyday.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Greetings Lady Ivorwen, the solution is simple--for your Martha roles you just do the Christa things and for the Mary role you can be Lady Ivorwen. =:)

Just kidding, keeping a Mary spirit in a Martha role is a little like Kipling's "If"--when everyone around you is losing their head and blaming it on you--by focusing on what is important, the urgent gets handled but without all the angst by squeezing it in around the truly worthwhile. No one on their deathbed will look back and wish they had spent more time being Martha--they will cherish the Mary times and wish there had been more of them. I'm glad you are the way you are--don't change a thing. =:)


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

Very lovely, Winsome! And it is true - there are too many things we worry about except some of those that are the most important.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

You are absolutely right Audrey, that's why I let everything go while I pursued the ultimate hamburger--ha ha.

I once asked my son why he wasn't stressed out and he looked at me quizzically and said: "I never worry!" I asked: "How do you do that?" He replied: "It's just excess baggage, why would I want to carry excess baggage?" It was my time to look quizzical--proud but quizzical. Hooray for second generation chances to get it right. Thank you for the kind words. =:)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I have a bookmark in front of me, Winsome, that echoes what you said here in this hub.

"Dear Loved One, I'm working on all your problems. Please stay out of the way! Your friend, God."

This is a lovely hub, Winsome-

Thanks.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you Laurel, I wanted it to be a little rest stop garden for us busy HP travelers--a place to contemplate the choices we have made and are still making. I like your bookmark--I'm trying to stay out of his way. After all when we get to the loaves and fishes end of our attempts to solve the problems, he just takes what we have and uses it in a miraculous way to feed the five thousand. Surely we could take a lesson from that. Thank you for the wonderful comment. =:)


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

I love your hubs Winsome! You inspire the best in me. I love how you just broke out in poetry and expressed the vantage point of Jesus. I always applied that scripture to child rearing and that listening to my children was much more important than stressing over chores..... although the chores did need to get done. Really listening and attending to another is a profound form of love that validates and nurtures. Thank you Winsome.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Kim you are so kind and I appreciate very much your comments. You are right about children--they know how to give freely and if we can give back like they do, we are in the center of what life is all about. My goal has always been to inspire others to be the very best and if I succeeded even a little I am delighted. Thank you for being a great friend. =:)


cameciob profile image

cameciob 6 years ago

Hi Winsome, thank you for reminding me about what matters the most to me. here is my short list: love and survival. But in trying to fulfill this 2, I always get lost in details. I like your poetry, so simple and true.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Camelia, thank you for the gracious words--it is not easy to always choose the most important--"making the main thing the main thing" as someone said. Sometimes the best thing we can do for the one we love is to get out of the way and sometimes we just need to hang in there. Sometimes the most loving words are the ones we don't say and sometimes a reminder to follow our heart is just what we need. Let's keep reminding each other--that may be the most important thing of all. =:)


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 6 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Mary chose the good part, that part of the story we know. I have often wondered what Martha did later. Did she continue trying to scurry around and clean up after the meal, or did she sit at HIS feet?Some people just don't listen to His voice.I love your poem!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you B'Lady, Martha was the first to notice what needed to be done and showed up early but always slow to realize the significance of the situation. Mary was not always on time, but she had eyes to see what was really happening and when her eyes failed her she had the heart to feel it. We can choose to be in the kitchen or at his feet in every situation. The things we capture by being at his feet are the things we get to keep--the things that last. So nice to have you stop by. =:)


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 6 years ago from Florida

As always, Winsome, a well written hub. Btw, you haven't visited me in a long time!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

M'Lady you are so right and I humbly apologize--I will make amends quickly. Thank you for the kind words. =:)


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

"the urgent often pushing out the important", this one is for every parent. I know I've put my daughter aside to do other "urgent" things and at the end of the day. realized I missed out with her. I love your quotes on this and it was a terrific hub!


Cheeky Girl profile image

Cheeky Girl 6 years ago from UK and Nerujenia

This is inspiring, and utterly quotable to the point where I wanna tell all my friends and quote it like crazy and make them think I am so cool! Heh! Pure Visionary. I can't find a button to vote it for that, but that's what it is. Cheers. :)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Izzy, yes we've all done the "Cat's in the Cradle" thing with our kids, but I'm sure you spoil them with mom's guilt attention. Thank you for the positive huzzahs and go out there and spend ten minutes doing your "most important thing." Then check back and let me know how it went. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey CG, nice to see you and thank you. I thought of adding a list of my ten most important things but decided to just leave it open--sometimes just asking the question is enough to get us thinking. Thanks for being a fan. =:)


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA

Winsome,

I feel we are destined to be great "virtual" friends.

I am a recent participant in Hubpages and have just discovered your literate and thought provoking pieces.

And I am glad I did.

This was a most wonderful read; from concept to conclusion thoroughly enjoyable

Your quotes, your illustrations and your poetry led me to a place I needed to go, and I thank you for the journey.

I am retired and, having married relatively late in life, am fortunate to have two of our three children still attending school and living at home. The time I forfeited while working when they were younger I am making up for now with non-intrusive interactions. We enjoy clever repartee, and I proofread and edit school assignments.

Rather than resent the time that was denied us, I rejoice in the time we have.

I will probably reread this hub before I further explore your offerings, but I look forward to immersing myself further into what you have to say.

For now, thanks.

CP


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 6 years ago from Canada

well written, well done, thank you for this lovely hub.


H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 6 years ago from Lone Star State

thanks for the great quotes-they are worth reading and re-reading again for a little piece of mind :) Great Job!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

You are very kind Chris and I look forward to a long friendship. I have missed a lot with some of my kids but like you I am trying to catch up. Thanks for the visit. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Rebecca, so good to "see" you. Thank you for the kindnesses, I know you of all people know the dilemma of the demanding vs. the important and I'm confident you choose well. I am trying to whittle down some of my lists to the ones that matter. =:)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey HC, thank you for the nice comment--good to see someone else is up late. Hope all is well with you. =:)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Great reminder of the need to concentrate on the important things. Challenging.

Love and peace

Tony


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey Tony, I can see by your avatar you are doing just that. Nice to see you. =:)


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

very nice, winsome. I love coming over and reading your words.. I think there are times when we are Mary and sometimes when we are Martha.. both are needed.. we all know these kind of people. I can't imagine them any other way than they are. I guess the important part is remembering who we are. :] thanks for sharing with us.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi Rebekah, good to see you and I like what you said: "the important part is remembering who we are" Thank you for the kind words. =:)


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 6 years ago from USA

I love your hubs. You amaze me


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hey SG that is so nice of you, I've always admired those two women and I think they are both in all of us. I just hope I choose the "one thing" often. Thank you for reading and for the gracious, much appreciated words. =:)


2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

What a lovely hub! I know I tend to spend too much time in the kitchen (this is Pat writing) and fussing about - and often miss the most important thing.

The poem is just wonderful.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Pat, so good to see you. Kierkegaard said that "Purity of heart is to will one thing." Just getting quiet enough to listen for what that one thing is would help a lot. I'm trying to start there. Thank you for visiting and for your kind words.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

I liked your 'poem' and appreciate Martha more than most perhaps - want a Mary heart, but don't like Martha being put down as most usually have (in my hearing). But then as you said, only One thing REALLY matters!

Thanks for sharing this!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Hi FF, thanks for the nice comment. I agree Martha gets a bum rap sometimes, but I think the point is she was trying so hard to feed Jesus she missed a meal of "spiritual food" that would have lasted a lot longer and maybe even made her into a better Martha than she already was. I often tell myself that I have such a busy day ahead of me that stopping to pray is the most effective thing I can do. =:)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

This really moved me down to my soul. The greatest loves of my life were not people who bought me things and took me places. It was how they made me feel when I was with them. I was fortunate to have my first love, my late husband. I now have another who accepts who I am and loves me unconditionally. What more could I ask for?

I love the proverb. I've never thought of life that way, yet it speaks volumes.

You are a gifted writer and poet. I can identify with so much of your work.


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

How sweet you are Trish, thank you for reading and for your thoughtful insight. There is such power in unconditional love and I wonder why we take such little advantage of its power. I sometimes think that if we cut down on the amount of things we try to accomplish and spend more time in selfless loving and attentiveness that this world would be miraculously and profoundly better off.

Thank you again for showing us how. =:)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

I am in desperate need of stress relief. My professional life has my head spinning. So much to do and so little time. I make it a point to use my lunch hour alone just so I can decompress. I've come to the conclusion that I need to find better ways to focus, but it's hard when so much is thrown at you.

Occasionally during the week, I get to spend a little time with my love. It's a great help as he has a way of getting me focused and reassures me that a person can only do so much and that it's ok if I don't get it all done. This to me is the power of unconditional love that you mention. :)


Winsome profile image

Winsome 5 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Sounds great Trish, funny you should mention stress and time--I'm working on my next hub and it's title will be "Slow Down Time and Start Living Your Life"

If you ever find yourself really stressed, I recommend one of the first hubs I published called 5 Secrets to Peace of Mind. Talking things over with your loved one is the icing on the cake. Thanks for coming by. =:)


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 5 years ago

I'm off to read :)


Abundant old soul profile image

Abundant old soul 5 years ago from united states

I could use to think about this


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Thank you for your comment Bernard. I think the secret is to choose the important without caring what people think about your choice. Sometimes, even as writers, we care more what others think about our writing than discerning our reader's need and meeting it. If the Martha's of the world aren't complaining about us, maybe we are writing for the wrong reasons. Blessings =:)


abbaelijah profile image

abbaelijah 4 years ago from Nigeria

Nice hubs! well done!


Winsome profile image

Winsome 4 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas Author

Wow, you read all 86 already! Just kidding, I know what you mean and thank you very much. I like your name. Maybe there should be an article about what the "really only one" means. I think I know, but it would be profitable to study it in context. =:)

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