Holy God, we your servants are here, gathered at your feet. Speak now, we are listening. Amen.
All last week I was pondering what the story of Martha and Mary could be saying to our community here at AST. In fact, around mid-week I had already formed much of my reflection, and was working on how to shape the service around it. But, much of that message changed over the weekend.
This weekend I completed the chapter of the life that was who I was before accepting the call into ministry. Saturday morning, my family, and Helga, watched me cross the stage at Acadia accepting my Bachelor of Computer Science degree. A degree that I will not likely be using in professionally again, but is symbolic of the person that I used to be before I knew Jesus Christ.
When I started that degree in 1992, there was no way I would have believed, or even kept a straight face, if someone had told be that 12 years later I would be standing here sharing a message of Christ with a Theological school community.
It was 1998 when I left Acadia to work for Nortel in Ottawa with only one credit left to complete my degree. But, the busyness of life took over at that point. I was working towards management in a large company, so I was busy with working with my staff, upper management, clients, reports, requests, email, and all that other fun stuff. All that time I was working 10-12 hours a day, exhausted. My wife, Beverley at the time was busy too, she was working on her faith, learning, reading, praying, listening to what God was sharing with her. When the high tech market crashed in 2001, so did my prospects in management.
Everything was frozen, half of my employees were laid off, others were outsourced to another company, I was moved to another department. The busyness and distractions were no longer there. I began to search out a new direction, finding out more about my wife’s faith journey. I started to explore some of this as well. This exploration led me to Jesus Christ, and his teachings.
I have been both Martha and Mary, and many days I still switch between the two. Martha was obsessed with preparing a perfect meal for her guests. Maybe getting out the fine china, or even digging out the cloth napkins instead of paper towels! Mary though, she knew that this would most likely be her only chance to be to sit and listen to Jesus, to hear some of the great teachings in person that she has heard so much about. In her busyness, Martha has missed out on this opportunity.
And who are you today? Are you like Martha, worrying about all the work you have to do for school, for church, for family and friends, or for a coming internship or graduation? Or are you like Mary, still aware of what needs to be done, but instead choosing to spend time in the presence of the Lord, to create a balance where you can discern God’s will for you in this place, so that you might go out and do all that you have to do with Jesus as your focus. This scripture is not telling us to drop all of our responsibilities, but to strike the balance between our work and our relationship with God through Christ. For me, it was when I had quiet time a few years ago, that I could finally hear what God had in mind for me over all the other noise and distraction in my life. What keeps you from hearing God’s will for you today? I remind you of Jesus’ words: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” If we choose to listen to Jesus, to be balanced with the Word of God in all we do, it can never be taken from us.