Saturday, September 15, 2007

Living in Liberty

Martha had worked a full day. When 5:00 came she could barely stop herself from bolting for the door. There was still so much to do! First, she needed to gas up the car, then she needed to run by the local department store and pick up the three things on her list.

As she entered the department store, there was a group of young boys collecting money for their basketball league. She could tell they were inner city children. “Sorry!” she said as she rushed by them. She thought to herself, they probably didn’t know how to apply for funding! Didn’t they know there were grants available?

Through the isles she went with her cart. First, she needed birdseed, and she headed towards the garden section to find it. As she turned the corner to grab a bag, her cell phone rang. It was the church youth leader. “Me? Why can’t someone who doesn’t have a 40+ hour a week job help with the community Thanksgiving dinner? There are lots of others you could ask! I just can’t – I don’t have time!”

Next she needed a new blouse to match the slacks she’d bought last week. She wanted to wear them tomorrow. As she entered the women’s section and began to search the racks, her cell phone rang again. “I’m sorry Dan, I can’t be at the community clothes closet this weekend. I’m just too busy. You’ll have to find someone else to fold and tag the clothes. I just can’t find the time. I’m so busy these days I can hardly see straight!” Ah! There it was! The perfect blouse! Sure, it was a bit pricey, but she felt she deserved it after working so hard all day.

Only one more thing on the list, and she’d only been at the store 45 minutes. Martha felt a sense of accomplishment that things were moving so quickly. Now, off to the cosmetics isle to find the right shampoo. She’d been using her husband’s shampoo for the past few days and it just didn’t do the trick!

The cell phone again? “Well, I’m Miss Popular today!” she thought to herself. “Hi Mom. No, sorry, you’ve caught me at a bad time. I’m shopping and trying to get home to the kids. Sure, I’ll call later.” Her mom was undergoing chemotherapy and wasn’t doing well. The chemo was taking a toll on her body, and even her eyebrows had fallen out. She hated to see her mom go through such pain, but what could she do?

Finally she was home! Whew! What a full day she’d had! As she started dinner her 10-year old daughter came to her with math homework. “Sarah! Can’t you see I’m cooking dinner? After working with numbers all day long I certainly don’t want to do math homework! Ask your brother to help you!” She realized her words were sharp, but enough was enough!

As her dinner was baking, she remembered she had not read her Bible that morning. Her Sunday school class had agreed to read every day, so she felt obligated to sit down, and quickly read a few verses.

Her Bible opened to Galatians 5:12-14:

“I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.””

Her mind began to flood her with faces: the young boy asking for a donation outside the store, the youth leader, Dan at the clothes closet, her mother, and finally, her daughter.

Martha fell to her knees and cried.

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