Monday, March 16, 2009

Poor Martha

A guest speaker came to our church recently and said something that stuck. He asked the question, "What is going to be your one sentence?" He challenged that after we are dead and gone, one sentence will follow us.

"Johnny, I remember him, he discovered light." or "Mary, oh wow, she was a witch." So what will be my sentence?

Have you read the story of Mary and Martha from the Bible?

(Click here to read this passage from the translation called the Message,;&version=65;)

Poor Martha. This is her one sentence. Though there are other brief documentations of her interactions with Jesus, this is the sentence that stands out. The sentence most often used to define this woman's entire life: Martha worried and fussed over the inessentials.

But it was just one moment in time.

On the one hand this story reminds me of how vital it is that we are faithful with our moments. Recently I connected with someone on Facebook from my elementary school years. The one thing I remembered from my early interactions with her was that I stole some personal notes she had written with another girl. Yes, in my flesh I am a thief. Why did I do that? I don't know. I am sure it was out of jealousy and insecurity.

When she "became my friend" on Facebook I knew I wanted to make that right; clear the air of my childish behavior. (And maybe make a new sentence for me in her eyes.) So I sent her a note of confession and apology, telling her I acted like an idiot. Her response was priceless, "Lara!!! You are adorable!!! You just warmed my spirit with that confession. Thank you." Now maybe her memories of me will not be left wondering if I was ever locked up.

Faithful with our moments.

The second lesson I learn from poor Martha speaks to our thought life. The other evening Adam came home after being gone for a day and a half working (the life of a firefighter). I was in the kitchen cooking with three kids pulling on my legs begging for attention (this is a typical scene). When he walked through the door they all went running and screaming, "DADDY!" So after a quick kiss and hello to me, he chased them all into the play room where he could more effectively tickle and tackle. I have a choice when this happens. I can continue cooking, irritated and frustrated that he isn't helping me with dinner. Or I can be thankful that he is a father who wants to spend time with his kids.

In those moments he has chosen the better thing. If I let my thoughts criticize what others do, then I am going to miss the blessings of my day. In this brief moment with Mary and Martha, we see Martha battling her thought life. She was probably in the kitchen, mentally listing all of the reasons why Mary should be helping her fix the meal. Then she was fuming.

We live for an audience of One. There is so much in the Bible that guides us with our thought lives. From our thoughts will come our attitudes and words. Let us live faithful with our thoughts, turning criticisms into prayer and then into thoughts of blessing and promise. As a believer (one who has accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as their own) God promises that His Spirit dwells within you. You have the power to live victorious with your thought life, and in turn with your moments. We are all in process. No one is perfect. But as we come to know Him through His Word, we can fill our minds with truth and are better equipped to walk this road in abundance.

Turn to Him, sweet friend. Let Him change your one sentence.

"Finally, friend, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, pure, lovely, if there is any virtue and anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8

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