Last night, a small group from Mission Bay Community Church met in my home to eat dinner and study the biblical story of two sisters - Mary and Martha.
You can find the whole story here: Luke 10:38-42. The basic storyline is that Jesus comes to visit their house and one sister Mary sits at his feet and listens while the other sister Martha is busy cleaning the house and providing hospitably to Jesus. When Martha complains to Jesus that Mary is not helping her, Jesus tells her to stop worrying and busying herself. He says Mary has chosen the "better part" by listening to him.
It's a beautiful and important reminder to put Jesus first and for all of us busy/productive people to slow down and prioritize. It also doesn't seem fair. Martha was doing all the things culturally expected of her to prepare for and value the guest and Mary just sat there.
We want Jesus to be concerned with fairness. And yet, Jesus concerns himself with grace.
The more we talked about the story, the more other stories like this came to mind - the story of the Prodigal Son, the Workers who worked different amounts and yet all were paid the same, Jesus's persecution and suffering.... you know, none of those stories seem very fair either.
Perhaps it is our expectations for what we define as "justice" or "fair" that are the problem.
Perhaps our feelings of entitlement and desire for recognition get in the way of our being good people and sharing God's justice and grace.
I left our small group knowing I need to resist my tendency to compare, criticize and want my fair share in order to give and receive grace and love. In order to really put God first.