Recent events have inspired my wife to write the book I've been saying needs to be written. When I wrote The Pursuit of Pleasure in the Pleasure of Another, one of my primary goals was to help couples take their eyes off each other and their piece of the American dream, and work together as a team to advance the Gospel in their circles of influence. This is the subject of the last chapter of the book, "Missional Marriages: Joyful Hope Overflowing." There is simply no other reason that marriage and households and families exist but to advance the Gospel. That's it. It's why we exist.
So my wife has finally decided that women everywhere need to join the Dirty Plate Club. Perhaps you remember as a child being a member of the clean plate club. That's for all those good kids that ate everything on their plate and licked it clean to show their obedient spirit. The Dirty Plate Club is a little different. It's for all those who are awakening to the notion that living to share the Gospel is more important and satisfying than living the American dream. The goal of the Dirty Plate Club is not to leave dirty plates all over the kitchen. However, if in the process of being a friend to someone in need, if in the process of serving a neighbor by watching their kids, or if in the process of showing hospitality, your house gets wrecked, or dishes are left dirty, so be it... "here I stand, I can do no other, God help me." What if you don't have clean dishes to serve on? That's why God invented paper plates and plastic cups.
This new book may coincide with a new ministry, Luke 10:42 Ministries. Obviously the basis for this title is the standard-setting, Christ-spoken New Testament verse that reads: "but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." It's not an accident that the King of Heaven praised Mary for living out the words of King David "One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple" (Psalm 27:4). The Lord came to earth, the temple came down in all his beauty and glory. Mary saw it, was drawn to it, and couldn't help it. And she was considered lazy by her well-meaning sister.
Martha was simply too busy to notice the one thing that was necessary. And in spite of the good-intentioned, modern-day sermons praising "Martha's hands" as well as "Mary's heart," Jesus had no words of praise for Martha that evening. She was "anxious and troubled about many things." How many women are in the same situation today? How many women have trained their minds to strive for a standard that isn't exactly the goal of life? How many women have clean plates and messy hearts? Dirty plate anyone?