Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 29th, 2009

Howie Kalb, S.J.

Jesuit Community
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Martha was a person who really loved people and wanted them to enjoy life.  She was blessed with that kind of magnanimous, enthusiastic personality.  When she heard Jesus was coming for a visit, she began the preparations for a banquet to end all banquets.  It’s the way important people are meant to be treated.  Notice: that is what Martha wanted to do.  What she should have tried to find out was what Jesus expected or needed.  Martha’s over exuberance was her first miscue.

Her mistake was the one often made by people overly anxious to please.  They think of their service in terms of what they know that they can provide for the ones they hope to impress.  But the charitable approach of successful people is to provide what would most satisfy their loved ones.

But as soon as Martha realized time was running out and she would not be able to take care of all the chores she went to Jesus and asked: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”  Jesus responded: “Mary has chosen the better part.”  Martha should have gotten the picture immediately.  Leave the kitchen, forget the banquet and join with Mary at the feet of Christ.  However, everyone finds it difficult to give up personal plans and cooperate with another’s.

Many times we become so comfortable with our ministries and find so much success in what we are doing that it’s impossible to give up even when we become incapacitated or too infirmed to continue.  There is always the suspicion no one is qualified to replace us.  Too often we stay so long that we begin to lose our effectiveness and even become a detriment to the entire enterprise. Have you ever noticed how often this happens with volunteers, even in parish settings?

It’s a blessing to have magnanimous and enthusiastic volunteers on your roster.  And you pray that they’ll continue to be interested and cooperative in the communal expectations and needs.  Then too, what a blessing it is when those people become aware they no longer have the energy or competence to continue and graciously bow out letting others take over.

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