Gleaning a Mary Spirit Amidst a Martha Heart
Luke 10:38-42The Message (MSG)
Mary and Martha
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
It’s true confession time. I was not ready to serve on the recent Oceanside Emmaus Women’s Retreat. I wanted to serve because I had received so much from my Walk to Emmaus Weekend and wanted others to have that same mountain top experience. But I also wanted to continue writing and working on a possible medical adversity workshop that the Lord had placed on my heart. I was working on both like a dog who found a box of dog treats – devouring them as quickly as possible before someone or something yelled STOP! I was in a rhythm and I did not want to stop to serve. Besides, wasn’t I already serving in various capacities, God? I am full up and don’t have time for any more – and whine, whine, whine…
You see, I am a Martha. I am a self-professed organizer. I use my outlook calendar to list all my daily to-do’s and then methodically check them off when they are done. Mission accomplished! I am very physical and enjoy being able to see the fruits of my labor. It also means that I am often hard on my body that lately has been making loud groans, moans, and retaliating with pain. My mind and body run around like the Road Runner; squeezing 15 minutes in the morning to pray and “popcorn prayers” throughout the day until I fall into bed, exhausted; often falling asleep in the middle of my prayers. I spend a lot of time talking to God, but very little time listening to Him.
Did I really need to serve on this walk, Lord?
My position on the team was a physical job – organizing, delegating and executing. I told myself that God had placed me there to do my “Martha thing”. And He did. But He had much bigger plans. The leader for our team is studying to be a pastor. She made sure that every day we had time for a devotion and prayer. She made sure we ate our meals together rather than eat on the run. Every afternoon, despite our tasks, she carved out time for us to meet to discuss problems, successes, and faith. At first I was “Really, Lord? I don’t have time for this! There are tables to set, meals to serve, dishes to bus – blah, blah, blah”. It was difficult to silence the chatter in my head, still my hands and feet and listen to God’s message for me. Soon, the others in the group caught on to my difficulty and began to beckon me away from my post by saying “Loretta, God is calling”. That got my attention! How could I refuse God? So I sat my hurting, aching body and listened to God’s word. And in those devotions and shared meals I found the true meaning in the work I was doing. When I returned to my tasks, I was calm, centered, and Christ-filled. He was using those He had placed me to serve with, and my aging, sore and tired body to get me to stop to hear His message for me. The message was: STOP some of the busy work and surrender more TIME for HIM. My goal was to use my gifts from the heart as I grow my spirit in Faith. I was to tone down the Martha and turn up the volume on Mary. In serving others on this Walk to Emmaus He had given me a gift.
My “Martha” body is still recuperating, but “Mary” spirit is soaring. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!