People just need to know that Martha wasn’t crazy. In fact she was probably the normal-est one in the building. She was just busting her butt, preparing food for Jesus and his disciples, organizing the details and getting things ready for everyone so they could all chow down. My first impression of her was that she was the true hero of the story – the one we should all be more like. When I was younger I never understood why Jesus sided with Mary, the lazy one. At least that was how I saw it. Mary sat at Jesus’s feet instead of helping Martha who was doing everything. Truly, I never got this. If I was Martha I’d have started coughing really loudly to get Mary’s attention at this point, and then when she looked I would have mustered up my most grotesque death-stare. How come Martha had to do all the work? And again, why in the world would Jesus side with Mary? I’d be all like, “Get off your arse Mary, and start killing some chickens!”
Clearly it never sunk into my mind the importance of spending time with Jesus versus organizing things for one of His inspirations. This story always baffled me, right up until this year.
Some of you may know that at the end of August I’m putting on an event called, “The Love Encounter”. It’s been a real faith jump for me and it’s freaked me out to the point of a near-psychotic meltdown on more than one occasion. This is because I tend to invest a lot of time into details. I went to college for Advertising, so I’m really good at promoting events like this. I’m also really fancy with posters, creating promo materials, videos, web, fundraising and a variety of other things that would have been PERFECT for this event. But God said to wait.
That’s the worst. I hate waiting. It’s like how a two year old probably feels when she has to wait to eat her birthday cake after it’s been sitting out on the counter all day. Even as a child I had issues with that. My birthday, my sisters’ birthday, my brother’s birthday, my mothers, fathers, who cares. I would steal the candies off the top of the cake regardless of whose cake it was, which usually resulted in a lot of annoyed people investigating later. But nobody gets to dangle a chocolaty masterpiece in front of me for a whole day. It’s basically rude.
Well what God showed me from this simple story, and what I hope you take from it as well, is that the details; the flashy lights, the colourful costumes, the loud music, the tiny little pamphlets that someone hands you at the door…those things are a nice touch but they aren’t as important as His ministry time. I think it’s natural to fuss over the details – there’s a lot to do and a lot to get ready. And frankly I like flashy things. But God has been pressing the story of Mary and Martha into me hard, saying, “Just do as Mary did. Spend time with me. That’s all. I’ll take care of the rest.” That was basically an invitation for anxiety to take over and send me plunging off the nearest bridge. I lack self-control and have too much control all at the same time. God wanted control of this event though. And so I waited, checking my watch every few seconds mind you, but I waited. I put all the details on hold and started just hanging out in God’s presence. I’ve done basically nothing for this Love Encounter so far, because God keeps telling me to wait and simply rest at His feet. And you won’t believe what’s been happening.
First, I’ve had people come up to me and basically volunteer to do things for this event before I even had to form the sentence to ask. My team has started falling into place without me having to raise a finger. Everyone has been stepping up to the plate the moment I say the words, “The Love Encounter” and somehow all the fidgety flashy details just don’t seem that necessary, and the ones that are necessary are coming together on their own. It’s still a trust thing – I have a fear of the weekend coming and looking ridiculous and going off poorly and having that all come back on me. But God keeps his promises. And I had to realize that if I want God to move at this event, I need to do things His way. And if under twenty people show up – that’s His way. That was his plan. Those twenty people are his priority. If two hundred people show up – that’s His way. I think part of the reason that God told me not to advertise was simply because I know how to do it. I think this is him testing me. He wants to see if I’ll really let him take care of the details Himself when I know exactly how I could do everything. Well, so far He has been taking care of it. I’ve been chillin’.
My only job for this for a long time was to drink a latte and spend time with a guy who in most historical paintings has a great beard, and who loves me beyond what I can imagine. Crap, how can I say no to that? All He wants to do is show me His love. His power exceeds my understanding. The details are all coming together, without me fussing over them. Quite frankly, God doesn’t need my help to plan an event. Maybe it’s time for me to just get out of His way.
God’s been pressing into me that in order for me to speak of and demonstrate His love at The Love Encounter, I need to first experience it and see just how far and how deep it goes. God loves me. Wow. I really don’t deserve that. But He needs me to see it before I preach it.
Now I command thee again (or recommend I suppose, to be nice) to spend ten minutes with the King of Kings yourself, even if you haven’t done it in years, even if you’ve never done it in your life. Just see what happens. Sometimes God likes to blow our minds. Sometimes He’s just asking us to spend a little time with Him and it can be enough to transform our anxiety into peace and give us a better understanding. So be with the one who loves you – there’s no need for shame. God doesn’t dig that. He has no hidden agenda. He doesn’t want anything from you. He just wants you. (Thanks CS Lewis).