It was a first for us. My husband and I took a vacation with our best friends, Ron and Jen. We traveled together, stayed in a little villa, and thoroughly enjoyed the saturated time in friendship!
We happened to travel near the residence of Pastor Orr and Jan. I must tell you that we had not seen Pastor Orr or Jan since he officiated our wedding ceremony 14 years ago. Mark and I were ecstatic that we could invite them to dinner at our villa. Ron, Jen, Mark and I love to be in the kitchen and so we planned a menu together.
However, when we arrived back at the villa that night to prepare dinner, I was exhausted since the last two nights each contained a mere 4 hours of sleep, and Mark had a touch of car sickness.
Ron and Jen graciously allowed us to rest while they began dinner. Soon the doorbell rang announcing our guest’s arrival and my heart lit up with the joy of being with Pastor Orr and Jan once again. They were the bright light of Christ to me in some very dark days in my teen years.
I instantly fell into my love language of quality time. I felt like I was a sponge trying to absorb enough love and light from Pastor Orr and Jan to last me another 14 years. I knew that Pastor Orr and Jan were a significant part of hope in my life, but how deeply significant they were came to light as we reminisced about my family and the past that has been so profoundly significant in hurts and healing.
Dinner was ready before I knew it and when I turned to “help” everything was prepared. Ron and Jen had even set a beautiful table for us. We enjoyed conversation among us. I felt glued to my chair unwilling to miss even one beat of Pastor Orr and Jan’s hearts. Their lives have been laced with many challenges and they are living testimonies of God’s triumphant grace and fearless love.
Ron and Jen had taken care of everything. They took care of dishes, left overs and drinks while I sat in this relational trance, drawing life from my time with Pastor Orr and Jan. I finally began to awake to how much Ron and Jen had done to serve us.
Guilt began to mount in my heart, condemnation weighed my mind. How could you have sat by, doing nothing, while Ron and Jen did everything? You are selfish and rude. You have not carried your part of the load – in fact you carried nothing! This condemnation had long been a part of the rhetoric of my mind.
You see, I am more like Mary than Martha, more of a relational person than a task person. In my mind, the work will always wait but relationships don’t. You only have relationships for that moment. I am naturally inclined to let the work wait. But often I miss the fact that those around me with Martha’s heart and insight are working intensely so that they may enjoy the relationships after the work is done. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am certain as a child and young adult that I skipped out on responsibilities too often, leaving my hard working sister to pick up the slack. But as a responsible adult, I still carry the guilt of not working when I am enjoying the relationships.
While I was processing my actions, I got up to refill Jan’s drink so Ron wouldn’t have to. While I was getting more ice from the freezer, Ron popped his head around the door with a smile, looked at me eye to eye, and whispered the most profound words of Christ’s love that went something like this:
“Don’t you dare feel guilty! Jen and I love making dinner. We are happy together in the kitchen and you are not allowed to feel guilty. We are happy to do this for you.”
Tears welled up in my eyes. How good our friends are to recognize the guilt in my eyes. Yet somehow, as they worked, they also recognized the nourishment that time with Pastor Orr and Jan had brought to my soul.
You see, Ron and Jen manifested the beautiful heart of Martha, doing the work cheerfully and with love so my Mary heart could glean nourishment. I think Ron and Jen expressed how Christ hoped to see Mary and Martha work in harmony.
For days after this dinner I wrestled with my feelings, guilt and condemnation still eeking their way to the surface. But God always brought me back to simply receiving what was freely given with joy. It was such a humbling experience to be loved so unconditionally. Ron and Jen got love right, and my Mary heart has never been so honored.
Thank you Pastor Orr and Jan for being Christ’s hope and
Thank you Ron and Jen for honoring my heart!
- The Great Revival (akandesegun.wordpress.com)