The Gift of Christmas

Dear Christian Radio,

As leaders we do hard things.  It’s our job to be the ones who respond first when things go awry and be the last to leave when the day is finally done, but therein lies the problem…for leaders, the day is never done.  One of the hardest issues ministry leaders struggle with is knowing when good is actually enough.  We all have something that drives us.  For some, it’s the search for perfection; for others, it’s the overwhelming need to ensure nothing goes wrong on their watch.  And so, we keep the switch turned on indefinitely.  This process not only drains our personal power supply, but it also short circuits one of ministry’s most basic tenets…relationship. 

Thanks to Joanna Weaver, author of “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World,” generations of both believers and non-believers have become intimately aware of the story of sisters Mary and Martha. The account, as told in Luke 10:38-42, goes something like this…Jesus comes to town; Martha welcomes Him into her home; Martha, the hostess with the mostess, flips out because Mary just wants to hang with Jesus; Jesus rebukes Martha and praises Mary…The end (but not really—see John 11). 

Let’s be honest.  You get the point of the story—Mary wanted quality time with Jesus—but secretly you probably think Martha got hosed.  After all, she cooked, she cleaned…and ohhh, those little sandwich thingies…to die for!   Martha is a lot like us.  Martha’s a doer.  Martha is a leader, and not just any leader either; she’s a servant leader!  Martha, Martha…she’s also an unabashed martyr who missed her own party.

Friends, it’s Christmas time.  You and your staff have been going at it all year.  You’ve raised money, preached hope, fixed transmitters, traveled to concerts, helped the homeless, and done all the things necessary to make your station worthy of Station of the Year. Now, you and your staff need to rest and rediscover those relationships that have been sitting on the back burner for far too long.

Ministry is a full-time business, but that doesn’t mean that we have God’s permission to ignore the ones we love.  1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”  I believe this statement from Timothy echoes wisdom beyond our duty to provide basic provisions.  It implies that we have an emotional responsibility to our families as well. What we are told to provide goes beyond duty.  Martha was all about duty.  Mary was all about relationship.

The greatest gift we can give to ourselves and others is time.  Mary understood this so well; that’s why she gave her time to Jesus.  If you have kids, you owe them your time.  If you are married, your spouse deserves your attention.  If you have relatives nearby, they deserve a visit.  Even the dog wants some one-on-one time with you.

In Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, the ghost of Marley speaks these haunting words: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, benevolence, were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!”

It’s not easy for leaders to shut down and close up shop, especially when that shop broadcasts 24/7, but during this brief holiday season your family is your business.  Don’t miss it…because they certainly miss you.

Dear Christian Radio…

1) Do the hard thing and schedule time to personally power down.
2) Disconnect from work and reconnect with loved ones over the holidays.
3) Find your inner Mary when your inner Martha shows up to help.


Merry Christmas,

John Long
Editor, Dear Christian Radio
Positive Alternative Radio
Director of Promotions & Engagement, Joy FM

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