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Friday, July 3, 2015

Martha, Martha, Martha…..oh wait, wrong show…

When it comes to relatable people in the Bible, Martha is my kindred spirit.  Now I am may not be quite the homemaker or as practically hospitable as she was, but I definitely find worth in service and doing instead of being.

I don’t “be” well.  There are many things you could tell me about who you say I am, that I would never believe for a second.  But I will take your compliments for what I do because I can see tangible evidence.  It’s much easier for me to accept credit to the concrete rather than to the transient. 

Oh boy, that last sentence sure sounded self righteous didn’t it?  A whole lot of self dependence going on right here…  God’s Word says that “without faith it’s impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6) yet so often, I am not acting in faith of Him but instead presenting my service to Him.  Faith and works are a delicate balance with the biggest role being played by motivations of who we seek to please and also who we are depending on in the process.

Service and work is not innately bad and I imagine Martha wasn’t meaning ill will when she was laboring hard in the kitchen while Jesus visited in the living room.  It’s not that she didn’t care about her honored guest… was likely quite the opposite.  She *did* because that’s what *loving* looked like for her.  She saw a need in feeding the guest and was determined she must fill it or heavens, the people may go hungry.  She hoped that her service to Him would please Him, whether He asked for it or not.

There are a lot of people out there doing good things for God and sacrificing whole heartedly in hopes of it pleasing Him.  And hey, it totally may be pleasing to Him so if that’s what God is calling you to, do it with your whole heart.  But I do know that I am often guilty of serving God more than I am worshiping Him….that I do more for Him than with Him.

 This revelation explains a lot of the struggles I have had recently concerning my intended plans for the summer.  A week ago I had to have surgery on my foot and the timing of the surgery ruined my well intentioned plans to serve at camp.  I love camp and have been pleased that for eight years, I have been able to participate in some way in the ministries of CEF and serve God in that capacity.  It broke my heart to have to call camp and tell them I would have to pull out of being part of CYIA and Week 1 because for one, I love the people and the ministry there, but for two, I thought I was letting them down.  That with a man down, they would be scrambling and that they had somehow lost out because I would not be present.

It was quite the opposite.  They were overstaffed and the girls’ side was just kind of overflowing, so my absence was a non-issue if not a bit of a relief.  When I learned all that, sitting here on my recliner with my foot kicked up, I felt like I had been handed a big slice of humble pie.  They didn’t need me at all.  I know they would welcome me and were sad to hear that I couldn’t make it, but I wasn’t a necessity.  The show still went on, because though I wasn’t there, God was and He went to work in a mighty way.

Because I couldn’t’ be at camp, I resolved to pray whole heartedly for the ministry there and kept in touch with a handful on campus to learn of progress made and praised God with them.  Though I wish I could have seen it with my own eyes and experienced it myself, it was so sweet to hear how God was working there.

Through many discussions I had with God this week about my current state, it’s been neat to see how He has worked here too.  He took me out of the kitchen and laid me up so that I could remember it is all about Him.  He can work without me just fine….but that said, He also seeks to work in and through me.  He just wants it to be out of a right relationship and dependency on Him and not myself.  When I trust Him with my whole heart and follow His lead, the pleasing Him runs in the same vein. 

Until next time,
In Christ,
Joy Lynn