ABC Extra – Team Lifting

June 27, 2011 at 5:15 am Leave a comment


A few months back, I purchased a treadmill for my wife.  The one we previously owned had worn out and it was time for a newer, more powerful, more advanced model.  I was very happy with the deal I received on the treadmill.  I got it for about 50 percent off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price!  As I was paying for the treadmill, the customer service representative asked me, “Would you like to pay an additional $100 to have the treadmill delivered and set up?”  I didn’t even have to think about it:  “$100?  No thank you, I’ll pass.”

A couple of days later, I returned to the store with my truck and a buddy to pick up the treadmill.  It was going to be simple.  We would load the treadmill in the bed of my truck, haul it home, set it up, and be done.  The plan was perfect.  That is, the plan was perfect until we tried to actually pick up the treadmill.  It had to weigh 1,000 pounds!  Thankfully, a couple of guys from the sporting goods store came out to help us.  When we finally got it into the bed of my truck and drove it back to my house, we took it out of the box, piece by piece, to haul inside.   After a whole lot of sweat and an aching back, I decided I should have paid the $100.

As I was trying, without success, to lug the huge and heavy box out of the sporting goods store to the bed of my truck, I noticed an icon the box’s side.  It had two people picking up a hug box with these words:  “TEAM LIFT for your safety.”  When I saw the icon, I thought to myself, “Would anyone even think of trying to pick this box up by himself?”

In Luke 10:38-42, we meet two sisters:  Martha and Mary.  These sisters could not be any more different.  Jesus and His twelve disciples are joining the sisters at their house for a supper, and Martha wants to make sure everything is just perfect for her guests.  And so she goes about preparing a lavish feast.  But with her recipe books strewn across the kitchen, pots and pans boiling over on the stove, and flour flung across the floor, Martha’s meal becomes more than she can bear.  She need someone with whom she can “team lift” in preparing.  But Mary, her sister, seems unable or, worse yet, unwilling to help.  When Jesus and His disciples arrive, Mary simply sits at Jesus’ feet, listening intently to what He says.  Finally, in exasperation, Martha complains to her Lord:  “Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40)!  The Greek word for “help” is synantilambanomai.  This one word is actually a compound word made up of the words:  synanti, meaning “with,” or “corresponding to,” and lambanomai, meaning “to take up,” or “to lift.”  Thus, when Martha asks for her sister’s help, she is asking her to do some “team lifting.”

Now surely, Jesus should empathize with Martha’s plight.  After all, her hard work could break her back!  But Jesus’ response to Martha is altogether surprising if not even offensive:  “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” (Luke 10:41-42).  Jesus will not send Mary to “team lift” with her sister.  Because finally, Martha doesn’t need a team lifter, Martha needs Jesus.  Martha needs to learn from Jesus, like Mary.  Martha needs to follow Jesus, like Mary.  And Martha needs to rest in Jesus, like Mary.

Be it in friendships between children or marriages between adults, I often hear people complain that a partner in a relationship is not “pulling their weight.”  These people explain that they are left all by themselves to do the heavy lifting of a relationship.  Though it is true that friends and spouses certainly ought to help each other, before you complain that another person is not pulling their weight, perhaps you should first go to Jesus.  Perhaps you should ask Him to heal and reconcile your relationship.  Perhaps you should ask Him to give you the strength needed to maneuver your way through what can sometimes be complex and weighty relationships.  Because before you need someone to “team lift” with you, you need Jesus.  Because Jesus doesn’t just help you with some of your burden takes your burden and nails it to His cross.  So find your strength – and your rest – in Him.

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