WEB SITINGS – CHIK FIL A, IN DEFENSE OF MARTHA

Due to an extremely busy ministry schedule and a lengthy bout with bronchitis, I have had to slow down my blogging. My apologies to my faithful readers. Getting back on track, let me share some recent web sitings that have spoken to me.

From Kenneth Kemp’s always interesting LeaderFOCUS comes insights about a fine Christian businessman who is a role model for many.

A Story in Every Life

Veteran motivational business leader Dan Cathy may have seemed somewhat out of place in a conference on technology-driven education around the world, but, after all, he was a prime benefactor in making the event happen. They called it the “Imagination Summit[1],” and invited some of the major digital companies to present and inform students, professors and administrators to some of the innovative technologies setting the pace in the new global economy. We heard from representatives at Cisco, Apple, Stanford University and Rethink Books, a digital publishing firm, among others.

There were definite “Wow!” moments as our facilitators walked us through some of the new tools for delivering academic content. Some of the most fascinating involve the penetration of remote, underprivileged, underserved places around the globe with high level, age-appropriate curriculum. In far away African villages, for example, with no connectivity or power supply, Stanford is opening doors and minds to a world of ideas. Cisco works alongside some of the most prestigious (and expensive) universities to bring the classroom experience with some of the nation’s most distinguished and innovative professors to sites all over the world. Online classes have become virtual classrooms, with live interaction and group video. Libraries are becoming digitized and accessible. In real time, lectures can now be transcribed and translated into several languages. Video recordings of speeches, simultaneously transcribed, can be searched according to outline and actual text. As information proliferates, it is becoming democratized, available for the asking, no longer the domain of exclusive, elitist associations. Those who resist technological advance are declining in influence. Those who integrate technology with their disciplines are expanding their reach in unimaginable ways.

Dan Cathy fit in, mainly because he runs his business from a smart-phone. He opened by giving us all his mobile number, which for a crowd of close to a thousand seemed a risky move. But it was all part of a tech-type contest in which he challenged us to send him a text message. The start would be signaled by the announcement of his phone number… first text in would win an iPad. You could feel the adrenaline rush as this collection of techies poised themselves, well, ourselves, to show our stuff. (I missed it – by a hair.)

But Cathy’s agenda differed from the rest of the presenters that day. The others were there to trigger the technological whiz-bang moments that would prompt collective Imagineering. Cathy brought in the human element. He challenged us to see technology, not as a master but a servant. Success in any enterprise, he said, means meeting the real needs of real people. Technology should enhance relationships. Our affection for our tools can be counterproductive, placing barriers between us and those we serve. Technology is no substitute for high touch. Connectivity must go beyond a digital login.

He speaks from experience. Mr. Cathy is President and CEO of one of the most successful business enterprises of the new millennium: the 3.5 billion dollar line of new restaurants – Chick Fil A. He is passionate about his business plan.

It must be a great sandwich, he will concede. But people will come back not simply because of a great product. He believes every visit to every store should be a great experience. So, they began with a highly intentional training program so that every manager, every server, every employee understands how to make every visit just that – a great and satisfying event. The sort you will speak of with enthusiasm to your friends. Read more …

If you are familiar with the Bible stories of Jesus’ friends and close supporters, you are no doubt familiar with Mary and Martha and Lazarus of Bethany.  Mary and Martha are often juxtaposed as the person with proper spiritual priorities and the person who expresses their faith in duty.  Tammie Gitt in living3368 has an interesting twist on this interpretation.

Defending Martha

I can’t read one more devotional, article, blog post or sermon about the whole “Mary and Martha thing.”

You ladies know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve heard the whole “how to live like Mary in a Martha world” thing.

To make a short story shorter, Jesus and his disciples come to Mary and Martha’s house. Suddenly, Martha’s trying to make dinner for a minimum of 15 people (Jesus, 12 disciples and the two sisters). Martha hustles around trying to make it happen while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus. In the end, an exasperated Martha tries to elicit some sympathy from Jesus, but only to hear that “Mary has chosen what is better.”

The problem isn’t with what Jesus said.

It’s what we’ve done with it.

It’s time to defend Martha.

We leave Martha hanging there in the middle of her story. We leave her in a moment of frustration. I have never heard a message or read a single post that looked at what Martha did after Jesus spoke those words to her.

Look at Martha’s actions in a later encounter. Again, she had asked Jesus for help and again she was disappointed. Rather than coming immediately to heal her sick brother, Jesus waited a few days before coming to Bethany.

Lazarus died in the waiting.

When she heard Jesus was coming, Martha went out to meet him. During the course of their conversation, she makes three statements:

  • “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
  • “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
  • “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God who is come into the world.”

I know.

God will.

You are.

Can you see how her faith has matured?

Her statements reveal a profound faith in the power of God to do as Jesus asks, a foundational understanding of the resurrection and, most significantly, a recognition of the divinity of Jesus. She alone of the two sisters declares him to be the promised one of God, the Messiah.

See how similar her declaration is to Peter’s celebrated confession in Matthew 16:16?

 ”You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

Martha didn’t stomp off in anger after Jesus rebuked her. She took those words and came to know him better. In some way unrecorded in the Scriptures, she must have – at least figuratively – spent some time at the feet of Jesus to come to the faith we see expressed during her darkest hour.

That’s her whole story as we know it.

It’s a story of faith triumphing over frustration.

It makes Martha someone we should emulate just as much as we do her sister, Mary. Not for that moment when her frantic anger led to an accusatory exchange with Jesus, but for the way she turned that moment into a catalyst for her faith to grow.

May I have the same determination to turn my disappointments into a deeper walk with Christ …

Read more from Tammie at living3368

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