Saturday, March 5, 2011

On Priorities, Performance and Purpose

Isaiah 61:1

It has been said, "Be careful what you pray for- you may get it!" On September 30, 2007, I was in Winston-Salem listening to Roger Wiles give an eloquent message to the Covenant of Grace congregation. His sermon included this passage:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news
to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to captives,
and freedom to prisoners
Isaiah 61:1

As I meditated on the passage I prayed this- "Lord, give me the afflicted and brokenhearted youth of the Piedmont and by Your grace and strength I will help teach them." Two years later, God answered that prayer. I did not realize how challenging the task would be. And so, I did what I have always done- I went into 'Martha-Mode', pouring my time and energy into lesson plans, study, reading countless articles... exhaustion ad infinitum.

A few weeks ago I heard these familiar words, "Michael, Michael, you are worried and bothered about so many things", words originally spoken by Jesus to Martha. I can relate to Martha. Here is a piece of her story:

Now as they were traveling along, Jesus entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord's word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Luke 10:38-42 NAS

Here are a few comparisons:
Martha - Mary
Busyness - Simplicity
Alone and Grumbling - With Jesus and Listening
Focused on doing - Focused on being
Many things - One thing

I received my work ethic from my father, a hard-working man who, at 78 years of age goes into the office six days a week.  I believe work is important. I believe work honors God. But yesterday I realized that all my life I have worked for one purpose- acceptance; I wanted a father's approval. When performance becomes more important than purpose, priorities realign- a realignment that becomes cancerous. It is subtle, insidious and at enmity with the unit known as family. I have allowed it to come between me and my family.

I am a Martha who desperately wants to be a Mary, but this I know- I am accepted by God the Father. And tomorrow is a new day.

Wednesday, during faculty prayer, Bruce Corwin (Trinity's Principal), played a song by Misty Edwards. The song is written from God's perspective as He sings over us. The title-
'I Knew What I Was Getting Into'. Here is the link:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the words of honesty and penetration. I have had a week of emotional and mental trials. Laptop crashed and after near a week it is back, almost. My email from my website is still lost. Frustration caused a lot of tension with those around me. The thought of lost writing pieces brought a sensation that really upset me. I place too much significance on doing, not being.