Sunday, May 18, 2008

When my kids were young, and burst into the house to unexpectedly find me washing windows or scrubbing walls, their first question was "Who's coming to visit?" I'm not the world's worst housekeeper and could have taken offense at that (and usually did), but truth be told, unlike the homes of great housekeepers, my windows and walls only got serious cleaning attention when pressure (think: out-of town visitors) was on.

However, I did like my house to appear clean (think: whited sepulcher), and with my six little Mormon children constantly running in, out and around it, I was somewhat uptight about trying to maintain what mediocre housekeeping I did manage to do. And when my mostly-male family members showed a marked indifference to my cleaning efforts, I responded . . . negatively.

I remind myself of another woman who fussed and fretted about housecleaning and food-prep for visitors. Her name was Martha, and she too was frustrated and irked by a family member who failed to pitch in. Instead, sister Mary chose to spend her time with One she loved even more than a clean house, sitting at His feet and listening to Him, being spiritually fed, taught and strengthened.

When Martha in her cumbered crankiness complained of Mary's choice, the Savior gently corrected her, saying "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

It's a matter of priorities. Clean houses are important; after all, the same Savior said "My house is a house of order, and not a house of confusion." But every Mormon mom knows that a clean house is temporary, and is soon taken away from her. Only one thing is needful. When our mortal life has ended and we stand before that same Lord at the judgment bar, the only thing to matter will be whether we have chosen, out of all the good things mortality offers, the better part.

Sitting at the Savior's feet through scripture study and prayer, devotedly and daily learning from Him what our priorities should be, is the best first choice for all of us. That choice will then lead to inspired uses of the rest of our time, and only then will eternal blessings follow which shall not be taken away from us.