Mary and Martha in Scripture have always intrigued me. I must confess that I have been like both women at times. One knew how to work, but she didn’t lift others up in love as much as she could’ve. One had the works but it came at expense of worship. One sister was so shackled serving her Savior that she didn't know the liberty or luxury of living for the Lord.
As my friend Ken Freeman said, "One sister was in Jesus' face but the other was at His feet." One had the audacity to give orders to Jesus, while the other obediently waited in silence to hear His words.
In ministry, sometimes we find ourselves so busy in the Lord's work that we accidentally leave out the Lord of the work. It is His work and it is better to be in love with the Messiah than ministry. The first is God and the other can become a god.
One of my very best friends died in 1995 and it rocked my world. Coming home for his funeral and taking a semester off from college enabled me to really evaluate life, ministry and how I approach things. Legalism is high on the law, but low on love.
I love that even when we have pure hearts, the Lord still can throw a curveball to bless and teach us. Last month, I was rushing to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. for an early flight to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to preach New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at the Big God Conference.
It was just days after Christmas and I had checked in my lone piece of luggage at the airport ticket counter and was carrying a bag of presents with me to the Palmetto State. After getting through security and arriving at my gate, I began to get the feeling that something was missing, wrong or both.
It soon dawned on me that I didn’t have the bag of presents and that I must have left it at the security checkpoint. With only 10 minutes left before my flight, I sprinted back down that long terminal to retrieve the bag. Fortunately, they were already stored in a secure room and an agent gave the bag back to me.
I began to head down the terminal to my gate and whispered a silent prayer, "Thank you Jesus" that they were not stolen. Someone called my name and I looked up and it was a tall, friendly face wearing glasses and a big smile. My mind was still in a daze so it took me a little while to realize it was Pastor Mark Batterson of National Community Church in DC and author of the New York Times best seller "Circle Maker” calling my name.
Pastor Mark introduced me to his wife and I shared about my upcoming book "Carrying Greatness," which I had just completed three weeks before. Due to a delay in publishing, I was still waiting to submit it to a major publisher. Both the delay in printing and forgetting the bag were divine appointments. After I explained to him how I had forgot my bag and shouldn’t have even ran into him, I asked Pastor Mark to write an endorsement for my the book. Without missing a beat, his smile grew wider and he said, "Absolutely!"
I wouldn't have the honor to have Pastor Mark Batterson write in my book had it not temporarily been delayed or if I hadn’t forgotten my bag. What looked like a dead end became a launching pad for God to take it to another level. Thank God for faith and forgetfulness because our initial disappointments are often divine delays.
Mary and Martha were two sisters. One was working and other worshipping. Today, which one are you? Thank God for our obedience, but more importantly, His omniscience.