My Name is Marcy

By Marcy Barthelette

Okay… so that’s not news. But I recently had a rather profound thought. Remove the c and the y and replace them with t-h-a and I become Martha. You know, the one everyone frowns upon because she was too busy to sit down and talk with Jesus.

Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. Luke 10:40b

On the other hand, you can just remove the c and I become Mary, the sister who chose what Jesus referred to as the better part.

Martha, Martha…..Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42  

And when did this mind-boggling thought wander into my brain? It happened one morning when I had laid my devotions aside to read later because I was trying to get my current article for the Gatepost Weekly sent to Casey. It was Christmas week and the church office had shortened hours. I knew she’d be rushed and I didn’t want to be the reason for her to get behind. The article had finally made its way through cyberspace to Casey’s desk and I had settled down to read my morning devotions over breakfast when Ken decided that I needed to hear all the important news stories of the day, and it needed to happen then. At first, I just wanted him to keep the mostly dreadful news to himself but then an unbidden thought occurred; how do I want my loving husband to view me at this moment, as Martha or Mary? Do I want to busy myself with other things (even though it was a study of the Lord’s word) or did I want to give said loving husband all my attention? After all, I still had plenty of hours to do my studying but by pursuing my own thing, Ken might feel that what he had to say was not important. What a conundrum!

Now there are times when Ken is hungry and wants me to be Martha, bustling around the kitchen and not allowing myself to be interrupted by anyone or anything, but this was not one of those times. He was truly intent on having my attention and, for once, my better instincts kicked in. I closed my iPad and listened to him.

These sisters, Martha and Mary, have been a part of my adult world for a very long time. I’ve studied them, written about them, and often wondered which I most resembled. Probably the answer is that I tend to be more Martha, but in my defense and Martha’s, I believe each of us was filled with a strong faith, but sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of living that we forget to simply stop and listen.

Just think of the opportunities we miss by not listening. News stories, shared over breakfast, may have negligible content, but quality time with someone we love is priceless. The call of a songbird or the mighty rumble of thunder or the soft pelting of raindrops following a prolonged drought, all of these remind me that the world around us has much to offer if we only listen to her words. God’s creations offer a respite from a noisy, crowded world. Nothing relaxes me more than the infinite pounding of the ocean’s surf. It returns with such constancy as to fuel my faith that, no matter what man or woman may do to blur the beauty of His creation, He will always be there for us.

I accept that the letters of my name represent a unique opportunity to try and bring the best of these two women to the world I now live in. In my Martha frame of mind, I can move small mountains with my will to dive in and get things done. I can be a force for good in my home and my neighborhood. But when my mind chooses to relax and shift into Mary mode, I can bring hope and peace to those in my corner of the world. I can listen to their troubles or take them comfort food when they are in difficult situations. By discerning the needs of my neighbors, I can adjust my biblical mentor mentality to suit the need at hand.

Stir up the gift of God which is in you. II Timothy 1:6

Obviously, you don’t need to be named Marcy in order to facilitate the dual personality that I have described. But I hope my little flight of fantasy has fueled your flame of faith enough to motivate a serious introspection of the ways you’d like to let that flame brighten the world. We’re at the beginning of a new year, albeit looking very similar to the past two. It’s time for each of us to take stock of “whose” we are and how we can spread the all-encompassing love of Jesus going forward.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. I Corinthians 12:4-6

While Martha and Mary may have been gifted with two very different personalities, each was eager to please Jesus in her own way. His fire burned brightly through the actions of each woman and we can learn so much from their differing traits. If you’re a doer, please dive in and take the necessary steps to get the work of our Lord underway. If you’re a listener, employ those skills to ease the burdens of those oppressed by the trials of life. If you’re blessed enough to be able to engage both personalities, your burden may be heavier but the rewards will be worth it. Wherever you happen to fall on the Martha/Mary spectrum, dive in and get started doing with gratitude the job you were given.

What is it that you’ve been planning without starting? You don’t have to take all the steps — just the next one.

Bob Goff, Live In Grace, Walk In Love

One Response to “My Name is Marcy”

  1. Pat Laing says:

    Marcy. your additions to our newsletter are a delight and some times the highlight of my time on the internet. I don’t let you know often enough how much I appreciate reading your messages to us! It is a special gift God has given to you and You Bless all of us that take the time to enjoy it. THANK YOU!

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