During the recent PowerUp Sports Ministry conference in Indianapolis, Indiana (USA), we heard twice from San Francisco Giants chaplain, Mark Mitchell. Mark is also a pastor and he delivered a couple of talks that day. The second of those talks is outlined below from the notes I took. I hope his challenge is of value to your soul.
As Jesus and His disciples journeyed toward Jerusalem, they arrived in Bethany just as their physical and emotional tanks were approaching empty. They stopped in to stay at the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, siblings to each other and among the dearest friends of the Lord Jesus. The first moments of this occasion are chronicled in Luke 10:38-42.
Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 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;
Mark’s commentary on the text was outlined in these observations: “Martha’s spirit spoiled her service.”
· Martha’s spirit spoiled it for Martha. v. 40a
· Martha’s spirit spoiled it for Mary. v. 40c
· Martha’s spirit spoiled it for Jesus. v. 40b
Mark also commented that, “Mary put herself in a position where the Lord could serve her.”
In applying this text and his observations to our service as sports chaplains, Mark asked us to analyze the people, activities, and places surrounding our service. Which are on the “supply side” and which are on the “demand side?” His challenge was that we must manage both sides well. We will have plenty of demands, that is for sure. Do we have plenty of supply side people, activities, and places in our lives? To neglect the supply side is to fall into Martha’s way of serving, all demands with no joy.
Mark concluded with the admonition from the Apostle Paul to the leaders of the church at Ephesus in Acts 20:28, to “be on guard for yourselves and the flock of God.”
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”
We would do well to learn from Mark’s admonition, from the Apostle’s challenge, and the Lord Jesus’ example. Be sure you have some “supply side” people in your circle of friends. Make time to be with the people who encourage, strengthen, and nurture your soul. Make time to go to some “supply side” places. For some of that will mean a wildnerness, a lake, or a river. For others that will mean hours, days, or weeks of solitude. For others it may mean museums, art galleries, and cathedrals. In any case, get there regularly. Lastly, be sure to make room in your calendar for “supply side” activities. For me that is a game of racquetball, an afternoon watching baseball, or a walk with my granddaughter. Make time to restore your soul with activities that build you up instead of tearing you down. Build some supply side ministries into your life’s rhythms and thereby avoid Martha’s spoiled service.