Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mary and Martha

Just wanted to share this article with you this morning by Tim Sheppard, one of the worship pastors at Gateway Church. I highlighted some points that really stood out to me. I hope it encourages you today, to not just think about the task to be done, but choosing to be in the presence of God. "The person who called the meeting is more important than the meeting..."


Both Martha and Mary were in Jesus’ presence, but they responded in entirely different ways. It’s admirable Martha wanted to honor Jesus by preparing an excellent meal for Him—she may have even been functioning in the spiritual gift of hospitality!

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
Luke 10:38–42 (NIV)

However, Martha was so task-driven she became distracted from the “one thing” that was needed. In all her doing, she missed the moment.

The battle for most fully committed Christians is not in choosing between right and wrong but rather in choosing between good and better. Good may look very similar to better, but they’re worlds apart. We can even use the gifts God gives us to help us miss the mark … with excellence!

Surely Mary knew she shared in the responsibilities to host Jesus well. She must have felt the pressure to do—to help with the meal preparation. Yet Mary chose to be Presence-driven. She just wanted to be with Jesus.

Much like Martha and Mary, we, as worship leaders, have been given the high privilege of welcoming God’s presence into the “house.” As we invite the congregation to join us, some may only peek through the windows to observe while others may walk right in. Either way, they learn to “host” by our example.

If we’re caught up in getting the “meal” just right, we—and the congregation—will lose sight of the “better thing.” We will be blind to the moment … blind to God Himself. Left to our doing, we’ll migrate to the Martha mentality every time.

If we understand that the Person who called the meeting is more important than the meeting, we’ll choose to be a Mary every time. Our role as worship leaders, then, is not to get through a song list; it’s to get through to Jesus. Somehow, when we touch His heart in worship, His presence magnifies to touch others.

I once knew a tall, lanky farmer who lived in the Arkansas hills. He was as strong as an ox—a man’s man. His name was Roscoe Benjamin Harrison Garrett. I just called him Grandpa.

Grandpa loved life, and he loved family. He was always ready for a good laugh and told hilarious stories about my mom and her siblings when they were kids growing up on the farm.

What I love most about Grandpa is the way he prayed. Before every meal, the atmosphere would change from jolly to holy as he would bless the food. Before he could even get past the first few words—“Our gracious heavenly Father”—Grandpa’s piercing blue eyes would fill with tears, his voice would quiver, and he could barely speak his words of gratitude to God.

For me, those meals weren’t about the place settings or the food (though Grandma did make some pretty amazing biscuits from scratch). I don’t even remember the words Grandpa prayed. What I do remember is that he could never pray without weeping. I decided then, even as a young boy, I wanted to be tender toward God like Grandpa.

What memories are we leaving our congregations with the worship “meals” we serve up? Will they remember that all the knives and forks were in their proper places … that the glasses were sparkling, the food presentation colorful, the flavors exquisite and the service excellent?

Or, will they remember that our hearts were so tender toward God we could barely sing? Will they remember “only one thing is needed”? Will they remember that we chose “what is better, and it will not be taken away”?
Tim Sheppard
(You can see the original article by clicking here.)

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

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