“Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by these many distractions? Are they really that important?” (Luke 10:42)
Do you have any stories in your family so amazing they become part of your family’s lore? We have a lot of stories like that. One of them involved Brianna and the worms.
When Brianna was about three years old, her dad, Wade, wanted to take her fishing. He packed some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, and milk, and gathered the fishing poles and bait. Both were excited as they pushed the boat into Mud Lake, ready to catch some fish.
Not too long into the trip, Wade noticed the lid was off the nightcrawler container. Then he looked at Brianna, and a fearful suspicion grew in his mind. Brianna’s mouth was dirty. Surely, she did not eat worms. Surely, it was not nasty nightcrawler dirt covering her mouth.
Wade asked a question he never expected to hear come out of his mouth: “Brianna, did you eat the worms?”
Brianna smiled a dirty, wormy smile, and said, “Yes, daddy!”
We’re more like Brianna than we think. Our Father plans peanut butter sandwiches and cookies for us, and we get distracted and eat the worms instead.
Our Father plans peace and we choose to worry. Our Father plans a perfect blessing and we ignore it, grabbing the first distracting object we see. Our Father says, “Wait for lunch,” and we say, “Ooh, yummy worms!”
In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus was at Mary and Martha’s house. Mary planted herself at the feet of Jesus and absorbed every word he said. Martha was distracted and exasperated by all the work needed to make a beautiful meal for her guests. Martha’s Father planned spiritual growth at the feet of Jesus, but Martha chose instead to impress people with her elegant hospitality. She chose to eat the worms.
There’s an element of warning in the story of Brianna and the story of Martha. We’re cautioned not to become so distracted by any earthly thing that we miss what our Father offers. It’s always better to reject the worms and eat the peanut butter.
But there’s a second, probably even more important, lesson to learn. Even though Brianna chose to eat the worms, Brianna’s father still loved her. Though Jesus didn’t approve of Martha’s choice, he didn’t stop loving Martha. And our heavenly Father still loves us, even when we look up at him with nightcrawler dirt on our faces.
We may mess up. We may make some bad choices. But nothing we do will make God love us less. He won’t kick us out of the boat because we ate the worms. On the contrary, he will do what Wade did. He will clean us up. He will offer us the good things he has planned for our lives. And he will look at us with eyes of love, smile, and call us his beloved.
Dear God, I choose to eat the worms more often than I like to admit. Life often distracts me from the perfect blessings you long to put in my life. Thank you for loving me even when I mess up. Help me trust the wisdom and goodness of your plan, even when I can’t see it. In Jesus’s name, amen.