My journey to this blog began, innocently enough, a few months ago while sitting in Church. The Gospel reading was a familiar one. In Luke 10:39-42, we hear the story of Martha and Mary. Martha eagerly welcomes Jesus into her home, and begins serving him, so much so that Scripture tells us she felt “burdened” with all she had to do.
At the same time, her sister Mary sits at the feet of Jesus and listens to Him speak. In typical Martha style, she asks the Lord if he is okay with Mary doing nothing and leaving it all up to her. Yet Jesus surprises Martha with His reply, “there is need for only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part…”
I’m Not Mary
Sitting there and listening to this reading, I found myself zoning out since I had heard this verse countless times before. However, as Father began his homily, I began to see this story in a much more personal way. Father simply stated that Mary was “in the moment.” This shook me! I began to think about all the times in my life (and in my ministry) where I find myself anywhere but “in the moment.” I was Martha much more often than Mary.
As a Youth Minister at a Life Night, how often do I find myself more concerned with the “flow” of the evening than the moments in which God is working on the hearts of His youth? I asked myself: when was the last time I took a step back, literally and figuratively, at a youth event and reveled in the amazing work God is doing in the hearts and lives of these teens? Sadly the answer was not very often.
This idea of being “in the moment” translates into my life outside of ministry as well. There are several areas in my life in which I am never content in the present. Instead, I’m always concerning myself with what is to come. And like Martha, I become burdened or stressed about things that are completely out of my control. It keeps me from experiencing the joy of the present.
My most recent example of this is in the new life of my one-week old baby girl Emily Grace. As a father, I’ve found myself pondering what will the future hold for my little girl? What can I do to assure that her future is strong and successful? Then she looked up at me and made a face – my heart melted and I was brought quickly back to the present moment in which I can fall more and more in love with this little one everyday.
I believe that if we begin to truly focus on the present, the day at hand, we’ll see how blessed our lives are. Think about the frustrations on your heart and mind right now. Then ask yourself – are those future areas of concern or present? Obviously we face trials in our present lives, but wouldn’t we be more equipped to address those without adding on the stresses of possible future crosses.
Throughout the Gospels we read about the anxious nature of some of Christ’s apostles. At times they seem so interested in the future events that they are blind to the presence of Christ standing before them. Therefore, I leave you (and myself) with this question:
Is it possible that in our attempts to control and regulate future trials, we are closing our eyes to the ways in which God is working in our lives right now?
In a world full of Martha’s, perhaps it is time we learn to be a little more like Mary.