Journey from Being a “Martha” to a “Mary”

By Kay Carey

May is my favorite month of the year. Not only it is the height of the year for colorful flowers blooming everywhere, it’s my birth month and my anniversary of “cancer-free”. This May marks the 10th year since completing the last round of chemo in 2006. 

As I reminisce on the last 10 years, my heart overflows with gratitude and joy for the many blessings I’ve received through what the Lord has allowed me to learn and experience. I could have died long ago from the silently growing cancer cells in my body if my sovereign God didn’t provide wise counsel to my doctor who ordered a special sonogram which detected a malignant cyst during a seemingly normal routine checkup.

God did not waste my cancer and other chronic health challenges in my life in the last decade. I have experienced a journey of becoming more like a “Mary”. I am forever grateful that I now can enjoy just sitting at the feet of Jesus and receive from Him without feeling guilty, “useless or “lazy”.

My innate tendency is to initiate and be involved easily. I used to give more of my attention to what I was “doing” rather than focusing on the “being” of myself or on others.  Until I was in my early 40s, I didn’t know about the concept of “ministry flows from being”. I was more “task and goal oriented” than “process oriented”. 

Often I felt guilty when I read the passage of Luke 10:38-42 because I could relate with Martha. I noticed in the passage… instead of Jesus rebuking Mary for not serving her guests along with her sister, Jesus admonished Martha. He said to her: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

 Mary chose to sit still at the feet of Jesus while Martha was fretting with non-essential matters. This reminded me of one of the most valuable teaching moments in my “Martha” era. Many years ago during a mentoring session, I was sharing about my involvement in all kinds of ministerial life with my mentor. More specifically, I was concerned with what I should serve our frequent guests at home. My wise mentor asked me to read Galatians 1:10 out loud. I read, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Since then, I often ask myself about my motive for serving others before getting involved in any new ministry opportunity.

In closing, through this journey, God’s transforming power by the work of the Holy Spirit has freed me from leading a “hyperactive” and “people-pleasing” life style.

“What a journey it has been with you! Thank you, Lord for extending my life and giving me a second chance of choosing what’s better, like Mary.”  

Kay Carey