I love my name.  My mother was christened Mary, but nicknamed Molli.  Her mother was also a Mary.  I almost inherited the exact same name.  But influenced by memories of past trips to Italy, my mother chose Maria for me.

Why do I like Maria/ Mary?  Mary is the wiser of the two sisters.  You remember Martha, the worker-be gal, the matriarch of the family who complained to Jesus?   Mary never seems to notice how rudely older sister Martha chastises her to Jesus.   Instead, focused on Jesus’ words of life, she does the “….one thing (that) is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)

I like to think of myself as a Mary, especially with my name.  I pride myself in not falling into the trap of legalism, the do..do..do of American Christian women.  Instead I read, listen to podcasts, meditate, and feast on spiritual food.

But recently, I have been caught up short by how all that might just be selfish.  I’ve been reading a book entitled, Unsilenced, by James Boccardo.  James offers compelling reasons and methods for sharing the good news with everybody.  He puts to rest the notion that one has to befriend someone first before engaging with them about death and eternal life.  By reading this book, I have come to see how much like a modern Paul this young man is. (Under 30/came to Christ after college/works an 8-5 job in the field of finance, earning a degree in theology)  His whole reason for getting out of bed each day is to be able to talk about Jesus to everyone he meets.  He doesn’t go out of his way to do this.  He doesn’t plan missionary days.  He just talks to people whether he is paying for gas, encountering the mail man, getting his car repaired, buying a cup of coffee.  He is ALWAYS thinking Jesus.  And he doesn’t beat around the bush.  With every stranger he meets, he asks a version of, “So, do you ever think about what happens to you after you die?”

The book is worth reading.  He makes it sound easy.  After all if our job is to sow seeds and God’s job is to provide the growth, what is frightening in that?  Yet, when I think of changing my life to make Jesus my ‘all-in-all’, my ‘raison d’être’, I am confronted by my selfishness.  When I am out and about, whether walking, at the gym, or commuting, I am listening to podcasts about God, French or logic.   Or I’m reading while waiting, giving off flashing vibes that communicate “Do Not Disturb”   It’s all good ‘Mary-esque’ content but it’s still feeding my desires.

Yes, I do like my name.  But I know that God is calling me to do more than soak in and absorb.  He wants me to risk trusting Him that there is more joy in telling others the glorious story of freedom and life everlasting than in swimming in my comfortable but Dead (spiritual) Sea.