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Writing Over Speaking

Writing Over Speaking

This summer I took the trip of a lifetime … a mission’s trip to Israel. Before the trip, our team of twenty met on several occasions to prepare and discuss what to expect. At our last meeting, the leader asked if anyone would be willing to give a devotion.

Speaking in front of people is not my favorite. My pulse races, my breathing quickens, and I feel an odd out of body experience. And this all happens before I say a word. When I finally do speak, my voice deepens, I stumble over my words, and I shake uncontrollably.

I don’t expect to be a brilliant speaker who captures everyone’s attention, but I would love to shake the nerves to the point where I could at least enjoy the time.

As a writer, the putting the words together for the devotion would be easy enough. I just had to get past the talking part.

I planned to give my devotion the morning we visited Bethany, because I wanted to tell the story of the two sisters.

I have a sister named Wendy, whose name rhymes with mine and we have many other similarities, such as; hair color and skin tone. But there are also many differences. My hair’s straight, hers is curly. I have brown eyes, she has green. I’m 5’6, she’s 5 foot.

The well-known sisters, Martha and Mary also had similarities, but are remembered more for their differences.

Jesus came to Bethany to eat with his friends, Martha and Mary. Martha, known for her hospitality, was preparing dinner, and paying attention to details we probably do today when having guests in our home.

As a mother of three, with the guests they invite, the numbers add up quickly. But it’s a joy sharing meals together with my family.

So much work goes into the preparation and making sure you forget nothing.

But can you imagine Jesus, in human form, being a guest at your table?

I can only imagine how Martha worked even harder to make sure everything was perfect. To make sure Jesus was treated royally, in a manner fit for a king.

Mary on the other hand wanted to be close to Jesus, to listen to him speak, to not miss a moment of being in his presence.

When Mary excuses herself before the preparations are complete and takes a seat at Jesus’ feet, absorbing his every word, Martha feels frustrated. But when Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to make her help her finish, Jesus rebukes her! “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Then, another time, in the gospel of John, when Jesus is the guest of honor at a banquet, at Simon’s house. Martha, even there, is making the preparations, while Mary pours expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet and dries them with her hair.

Judas objects, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”

Jesus tells them, “Leave her alone. It is intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

And then in Matthew 26:13, Jesus says, “Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what Mary has done, will be told in memory of her.”

Mary understands something that Martha is missing—the incredible blessing of the Lord’s very real presence in her life.

As I think about the lessons to be learned from these sisters, I think how Martha believed in giving fully of herself to help others and to show hospitality, where Mary believed godly service meant not only hospitality, charity, or even generous acts of kindness, but the outpouring of love and adoration for our Lord.

How then could I ever again think that good works alone are worthy of my Savior? He wants us to come into his presence with complete spiritual passion.

Are you a Martha or a Mary?

I definitely prefer writing over speaking but God gave me this story to share at that exact moment, and though I was nervous, I did it and my roommate made this comment— “And you said you weren’t a speaker.”

Thank you for letting me share!



Cindy Patterson


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