Mind in Renewal

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Freight Train in Her Head

Posted by Daniel Edwards on December 19, 2008

The following post is not directly related to Christmas, but I hope you find it edyfing nonetheless. My brother in Christ and mentor, Brad, sent me this in an e-mail awhile ago. I was grateful to be enlightened by his wisdom, and I hope you will be too. He writes:

I chased a couple Greek words around while reading about Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42

v. 40:”But Martha was distracted…

The Greek here literally means to “be drawn around”. It is a picture of being “driven about mentally” (Strong # 4049); also another meaning of the same word: “to be over occupied; too busy about a thing” (also Strong)

The verb is passive, which means that she was being driven around by her circumstances not by choice.

How many times a week do I feel as if I am being driven and tossed about by uncontrollable circumstances outside myself?! I am Martha incarnate most of the time! Passively driven by forces outside my control like that feather in the proverbial wind in the beginning and end of Forest Gump. This is the picture of Martha…distracted mentally.

The word distracted in English is from a Latin word (dis trahere) which literally means “to be pulled apart” How many times have I felt that I am coming undone by the noise and dint of busy, busy, busy. Like Martha, I was actually doing a good spiritual work; ministering to Jesus and his church…but I was undone, pulled apart, dismembered, distracted, and inordinately over occupied. Driven, busy, driven, busy and actually equating it with service to Jesus while my mind, spirit, heart and emotions were angry at my brothers! (Martha was angry at Mary, see at the end of v. 40)

Truly Martha “was distracted…”

v. 41: Jesus said to Martha, “You are worried and bothered…”

Worried here in the Greek means: “to be troubled with cares”; (Strongs #3309) from a verbal form which means “to be cut in pieces”; “to separate into parts” (strong’s # 3307) Have you ever studied a worried man (or woman?); They are troubled and divided up into a thousand fragments; Like Humpty Dumpty when he fell. “All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

Bothered (thorubeo; Strong’s #2350) means “to make a noise or uproar”. How insightful was Jesus of Martha. Her head was in an “uproar”How noisy was her head? It must have been like that Bruce Springsteen’s song that describes the noise in his own mind as “a freight train running in the middle of my head.”

Truly Martha was serving and doing what she was gifted to do, but she needed to quiet down. Tim Allen, in his show Home Improvement, would often say, “Back the train up!” Martha needed to learn to back the train up! Quit being driven by circumstances. Quiet down. Still the brain chatter while you are busy.

Mary was quiet. The Lord told Martha that her sister had found the “one thing necessary”. (Wow!) and that it would NEVER be taken from her. Incidentally, why didn’t Mary ever defend herself? Perhaps quiet people don’t feel compelled to. Perhaps they know that God is their Defender. Even if she had, would a “type A” personality like Martha even try to understand anybody who was different than her? Busy people find very little time to attempt to understand anyone outside of their thought grid.

Feeling “pulled apart”? How about “troubled by cares?” Or maybe ceaseless and uncontrollable brain noise? Perhaps we can take a lesson from this story and find the “One thing necessary” that wise Mary found as she chose (an active verb) to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His Word. Her head was quiet enough to hear.

Stop the noise and back the train up! First things first. God’s voice is heard in quietness. Not in the earthquake; not in the noisy storm that rages in our heads; Not in the powerful winds that shake and toss us.

Martha and Mary are forever sisters. Serve like Martha on the outside, but let our heads be quiet like Mary on the inside.

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