4th Day of Christmas

by Matthew B. Harper

But David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts…” 1st Samuel 17:45

The Lord who is “God of all the Hosts,” and “God of all the armies,” is surely a God of getting things done. This is not the quiet God who is preaching on a hillside to fisherman, this is the God who is out conquering new lands and subduing other peoples. I like this God.

I like this God because I am a guy who likes to get things done. I like to make to-do lists and I love to cross things off of them. I love to always feel like I am accomplishing something. I feel an almost manic need to always be accomplishing something in prison, or I feel that I am simply wasting my time and my life. If I am not busy I begin to almost frantically fill the time with something. I cannot seem to even sit to watch the television without also trying to read a book and eat a meal at the same time. I used come to work and often found myself frustrated with the men who would stop by because they were preventing me from getting my work done. It was a humbling day when I was reminded in prayer that these men were my work.

When the Bible introduces us to Mary and Martha we are challenged to compare those who are always doing for the Lord, and those who are simply being. It is easy to sit back and ask ourselves which one are we. I, for one, am much more comfortable as a ‘Martha’, but God calls Mary the better choice.

In prison I have often found myself forced into inaction. I have been literally bound up and alone for long periods of time. These turned out not to be the empty times that I needed to fill, they became opportunities for God to fill me. The world needs both ‘Marys’ and ‘Marthas’ but it is only when we are quiet and ready to receive God, that we can be doing for God.

Angels we have heard on high, singing sweetly through the night, and the mountains in reply echoing their brave delight.

Gloria in Excelsis Deo. Gloria in Excelsis Deo (Hymn 96)

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