When I finished reading this story, 2 questions came to mind:
1. Aren’t we SUPPOSED to help our Christian brothers and sisters (Galations 6:2)?. Is this story saying I should just ignore the people in my path who are in need?
2. Or is this story saying that I too often let the needs of others supersede my need for Christ?
I had to stop and remind myself that this is a creative story, not Gospel. I also have to keep in mind the fact that the story is told within the context of a book for women who are Christ followers and have a bit of a Martha-complex.
The overall conclusion I came to was that I don’t think the author is saying we aren’t called to help others carry their burdens. I think she’s saying that we help a little too much sometimes when only one thing is needed or has been asked of us. We run ahead thinking we are “helping” when all we are doing is giving ourselves more work than we were called to do.
Years ago when I was in college, I attended a Campus Crusade for Christ leadership conference where John Eldredge was one of the key-note speakers. I vividly remember him saying that if you close your eyes and think of the common Christ following female, the picture that comes up is a woman who is really….well, tired.
This book, “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” brought Eldredge’s words to mind and has been encouraging and eye-opening to me. I didn’t think I “needed” to read this book or that I even fit the “bill” of who this book was written for (in my opinion). I’m not a “type-A” kind of girl. I’m not a work-a-holic, I’m not one to be overly committed to something or even overly responsible. If anything, I struggle to be working ENOUGH, committed ENOUGH and responsible ENOUGH.
In the past 4 years, I’ve changed a lot. I’ve gone from being pretty busy and involved as a full-time, working-outside-the-home, wife and mom of one child, to a full-time, working-at-home, wife and mom of two. These days I look around and I see how easy it is to get caught up in the stuff of life, especially as a woman who loves Jesus. I often get caught up in the thinking that time with Jesus is an obligation, a thing I need to do rather than the ONE thing I need so that I can do anything else well.
No matter whether you work in or outside the home, there’s plenty of “good” things that always need to be done. Somebody always needs something whether it is a family member, a neighbor, a friend, or just someone in the world.
This book has been a freeing reminder that Jesus says that all that “good” stuff isn’t exactly the stuff that is NEEDED. It’s not bad stuff…it’s just lower on the priority scale. I’m not finished with the book and I’m sure it’ll balance itself out as I go on. (I sure hope it will!) But so far, it has helped me on the days that I feel like I don’t have time to spend with the Lord. I seriously have heard the words of Jesus echoing in my mind, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” (Matt. 10:38) I respond by moving one of those “good” things to a lower level on my priority list because, hey, only one thing is needed.
So, what did you think of the story?