From My Perspective – July 14, 2019
My brother and I were walking down to the river on the 4th of July. The river runs through his back yard, and we were walking down the stairs towards the water when all of a sudden my brother froze in place, and said, “mmpdhfuveutu!” Now, those of you not related to me don’t know what that means, but when a Gilbert utters that word, make no mistake: there is a snake in the area.
My brother and I were taught by our mother to fear all snakes. Copperheads, rattlesnakes, cobras, garter snakes, and even plastic snakes each held the potential to bring a life-ending bite. “The only good snake,” according to my mother, “Is a dead snake!”
So there we stood. Should we run, should we try to kill the snake, or should we stand there and scream like little girls? We chose the latter option. Then, my brother had a thought. Jess, one of his sons-in-law, knows his snakes, and isn’t afraid of them. While big brother and I stood there frozen in place, Jess was summoned to meet us, in the presence of the copper-mouthed water rattling king cobra that now held our attention. Jess would know what to do.
Jess assured us that we had nothing to fear. (I hated to argue with him, but my mother would have argued with him if she had been there.) Jess identified the snake, told us it was a good one, docile, in fact. Then Jess removed one of his flip-flops, and guided the snake away from the path on which my brother and I had suddenly become cemented. He explained that this snake liked to kill the bad snakes, so you didn’t want to evict this one from the property. Since Jess had successfully dealt with the issue, my brother and I continued on to the river.
So Jess had some special knowledge about snakes that was very helpful in this situation. Jess also doesn’t claim Joyce Gilbert as his mother, so he didn’t panic like Joyce’s boys did. Sometimes, a little knowledge goes a long way.
In today’s scripture, Martha is looking for results, for jobs to get done, and tasks to be completed. Mary, on the other hand, is looking to learn something. While Jesus was around, Mary chose to sit at his feet and learn something. Jesus let the sisters know that learning something, in this situation, was worth more than doing something. Who am I to disagree with the Master?
So, welcome to worship. Let’s slow down. Let’s hear what Jesus is saying to us, in spite of all the other things that scream for our attention. Those things will still be there when our hour of worship is over. What we do here matters.
Dale has been in ministry for over forty years. He's a teacher, singer, and story teller.