Doug Creamer column: Mary and Martha

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2022

By Doug Creamer

The last couple of weeks have been busy. I have been working hard trying to get things done. I make lists of things that need to get done and they help me focus on what needs my attention the most. Sometimes I am provided a “honey do” list and I will work on those, too. I love the feeling of scratching things off the list.

Someone asked me if I work on the easy ones first or the hard ones. It is tempting to pick some easy ones in order to get that sense of accomplishment. Some items on the list I don’t really want to do. Those items may linger and reappear on future lists.

I am not sure where the idea of lists came from in my life. I think I learned it from professional journal articles talking about how to be more efficient. I may have learned it from my mother, who always has lists. My wife often makes lists as well, especially when planning a trip. Wherever it originated, I use lists in my professional and personal life.

I have been burning the candle at both ends for several weeks. I had the feeling that I had more to do than time to get it all done. Sometimes when life gets to pressing me my quiet time can get squeezed. I imagine that I am not the only one who allows a busy schedule to squeeze out the Lord. I hate it, but sadly, it has happened.

In the spring of this year, our church dug out all our old landscaping and planted some new shrubs around the front of the church. I was so excited to see the new plants and to be a part of freshening up the outside look of our church. It took a little over two weekends to get all the work done, and I love how it turned out.

Normally, we get consistent rains and warm temperatures through mid-July. This year, we have been lacking rain and having excessive heat. That is not good for new landscaping. I have been at the church a couple times a week trying to keep everything watered. It’s too hot to water in the afternoon, so I have to go in the morning or evening.

On Sunday, I decided I would water before Sunday school. I was running out of time but still had some watering to do. I decided to finish the watering and be a little late for Sunday school. As I continued watering, the story of Mary and Martha went through my head. I was choosing to get the work done instead of sitting at the feet of Jesus. If you know me, you know I always want to be at the feet of Jesus.

Sunday school was good, but guilt nagged me as I entered the sanctuary. As I listened to the prelude music the nagging continued. In the midst of the music another voice whispered in my ear, “Don’t let guilt and worry keep you from Me.” This voice was filled with grace and love. I immediately engaged with the worship and found myself engulfed in His loving arms.

We all have a little Martha in us. I’ve seen it all my life on Pot-Luck Sundays. A group of women will jump up just before the sermon ends to get things ready for us to have lunch. They bless the congregation through their service. When you miss church because you are caring for a loved one who needs you you’re being a blessing.

My pastor said something the other day that has stirred in my spirit. You have to look at the heart of a person. It made me think about this familiar story in a different light. Jesus wasn’t rebuking Martha for serving. She was doing exactly what she was supposed to be doing. Martha was serving the Lord. Mary needed to hear something in what Jesus was teaching and she wouldn’t be denied. Mary would join Martha shortly in serving.

I want to encourage you to find ways you can help in your church so you can serve the King. Sometimes you might have to miss the sermon because you are serving the kids in children’s church or helping to get the pot-luck on the table. We have been called just like Jesus to serve others. Some things, like watering the plants or washing the dishes after a pot-luck may not feel significant or spiritual, but Jesus notices that you are serving Him. I encourage you to find a way to be a blessing to others through serving.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or doug@dougcreamer.com.

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