“Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!”
1 Samuel 12:16 (NIV)
For those of you that don’t know me that well….
“Standing still” is not something that I enjoy doing. In fact, I despise it. That’s why I majored in Exercise Science in college, that’s why I have played multiple sports in and out of season since age 4, and that’s why I will never work in a tiny cramped office cubicle (I wouldn’t last a week).
To put it simply…let me confess.
Hi, My name is Sam, and I’ve struggled with a Martha Complex for 23 years. (whew, glad that’s off my chest)
The story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 is one that constantly challenges me because it forces me to ask the questions: What is the most important thing in my life? What are my intentions behind what I do? Does my value come from what I accomplish or from who I am?
So, now I am in South Africa and I want to be honest… there are days when I feel absolutely useless. Language barriers, unfamiliar environments, and tons of free time before the coaching season begins in February has made this period of “resting and preparing” really difficult for me. My mindset has always been “put me in coach!” I want get out there and I want to start getting things done, but sometimes that mindset can cause more harm than good. I tend to be impulsive and impatient, and it’s easy to “get ahead” of myself without waiting on the Lord for direction and wisdom.
But, God is pretty awesome at comforting us when we need comforting. He’s also great at speaking Truth into confusing and difficult situations, and He reminded me of something important through this verse in 1 Samuel. This futsal ministry in South Africa belongs to God. My gifts and talents and abilities are gifts from God. He’s in charge, He’s the director, and He’s the organizer. He doesn’t ask me to do a bunch of amazing and marvelous things for Him. He calls me to stand still. He calls me to listen, to enjoy, to watch in wonder, and to just “be.”
He’s taken me outside of my comfort zone. He has brought me to a place where I have been asked to sit back, relax, and watch Him work, and THAT goes against every natural fiber in my being.
But, I am learning that my identity and my value should not be rooted in the things that I do, because I would never be able to do anything good if it wasn’t for God. Jesus uses the example of cutting a branch off of a tree and seeing how that branch ends up withering from lack of nutrients instead of producing fruit. As hard as it is to admit sometimes, I can do nothing apart from Him.
My identity needs to come from the fact that I am fully and completely loved, whether I am an invalid who is completely dependent on others or whether I am a successful athlete who is fully capable. God’s love for me and His calling on my life are not dependent on my abilities to “do stuff.” He promises to be the equipper and the provider, all He asks me to do is to show up and trust Him.
Mary sat at Jesus’s feet. She didn’t allow a big dinner party to distract her or frustrate her from what was most important. From my personal perspective, Martha was focused on people pleasing while Mary was focused on “simply receiving.” Both loved Jesus and both were loved by Jesus, but one sister embraced Him while the other tried to impress Him. Jesus says that Mary did the better thing.
This journey is going to stretch me in more ways that I ever could have imagined, but I know that God promises to finish the good work which He’s started in me. I get to see my Heavenly Father do some incredible things in South Africa. I get to witness His sovereignty and His power and His love for His people…
and I get to say, “wow, thats my Dad… look at Him go”
and because of grace, I get to feel Him smile upon me because He calls me His Beloved, and there’s nothing that I can do to separate myself from that beautiful truth.