The other day, while driving in the car, I heard a man on the radio talking about one of his favorite late night television moments as a child. On this particular show the host had invited a plate spinner on to his program. During his segment, the plate spinner began by spinning one plate faster and faster and then quickly adding another plate. Repeating the same procedure by spinning each new plate faster and faster before adding the next. By the time the segment was over the plate spinner had 9 plates spinning round and round. All the entertainer could do at this point was run franticly between each plate and continue to spin them faster and faster to keep them from crashing to the floor. Hearing this story got me thinking.
We’ve all seen an act like this. They make us smile and often leave us saying “How do they do that?” But in an interesting comparison I imagine we could consider ourselves acclaimed plate spinners as well. Our marriages, our families, our careers, the PTA, soccer club, church commitments, and the lists go on. Each plate representing one more thing to spin into our crazy lives. It seems like the priorities that reign in our hearts (marriage and family) tend to get the same attention as the rest of our plates.
During a recent Woman’s Gathering for church I was given an opportunity to share an inspirational story for the event. Believe it or not, as I prepared, I found a perfect example in the Bible of a Plate Spinner. Let me share with you how the story goes (interpretation mine).
Jesus is a grown man and is in the prime of his ministry. He has already done a few healings and the buzz concerning who he really is has made headlines around the countryside. While traveling one day he comes into a village where a woman named Martha opens up her home to him. As Jesus is talking and telling stories to the guests Martha is franticly running around trying to get everything ready. I assume she is making all the preparations for dinner along with all the other responsibilities involved with hosting a special event. Just then, as she is running around, she glances over and sees her sister Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him. Irritated that her sister isn’t helping she later says to Jesus “Don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all this work by myself?” Jesus then replies by saying “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.”
I think that there are a couple very important things to point out. Its obvious to me that Martha really loves Jesus. If she didn’t, all those preparations wouldn’t be that important to her. Secondly, Jesus isn’t saying to Martha that her sister is a better person. He simply says that she has chosen what is better. Similarly, I think that if we take a closer look at our plates we would find things that we love about each of them. But the real question is are we choosing to spin the plates that will not be taken away from us?
This plate spinning scenario can apply to us spiritually as well as literally. Once we slip into our “doing” mode, it’s often hard to downshift. Being quiet and contemplative makes us feel guilty- shouldn’t we be doing something for someone somewhere? I believe that as we enter the New Year we should all resolve to stop spinning our plates for just a moment. Take time to sit at the feet of Jesus and really hear what he is trying to say to us. Maybe just maybe He is trying to walk with us down a path that is better!