Summary: This sermon looks at how we can become distracted from seeking Jesus.
Are You A Mary or A Martha?
38 Now as they were traveling along, He (Jesus) entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42 (NASB)
Are you a Mary or a Martha?
Trouble! This story of Mary and Martha always seems to always spell trouble doesn't it? Whenever I have preached on this passage of the Bible a number of people will say to me, “I think Martha was right. I mean you can't just ignore all those things that needed to be done - can you?” I have even heard a person say, “I don’t think Jesus was very fair to Martha - do you?”
From such feedback I conclude that there are many of us who have been left with all the "dirty" work. You know what I'm talking about don't you. You are out at the bar-b-que grill cooking 40 lbs of hamburgers. It's hot out there and the flies are buzzing around. Everyone else is off in the living room relaxing - watching the game and here you are stuck with all the work. You cry: "Jesus - come on now - give me some help won't you? Look at all the things that have to be done. Why don't you send someone in to help me out? Life just doesn't seem fair. Come on now - send me some help." The dirty work is never fun.
I can assure you that if you have trouble with this story - you are not first one. I mean - the dirty work has still got to be done. Martha was doing her best to provide all the guests and she should be commended for it. Even Jesus is there and he needs to be taken care of too. She is a very good worker bee and I am sure she wanted to make it a very special event for Jesus. She wanted to give him her best. But something negative happens in the story. Rather than being a "happy" occasion it turns into a bad occasion for Martha. It is found in verse forty. Let's look at it again:
But Martha was distracted with all her preparations. Luke 10:40a (NASB)
Can this be a case where Martha is so busy serving Jesus that she is not paying attention to Jesus? Her attention has been distracted off the one thing that is most important. Could we become so busy serving God that we are distracted and we just don't listen to Him?
Of course the food is important - people have to eat to survive don't they? The basic necessities of life must be taken care of. But what if food becomes our focus? What if food becomes our primary objective? You know Jesus said:
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:24-25 (NASB)
He also taught: "People cannot live by bread alone but by every word of God that proceeds from his mouth.." Matthew 4:4
Someone has said - It is better to go hungry than to go wrong.
I think our frenetic generation needs to hear this teaching. Often we place a value on ourselves based on how busy we are. We rush here and we rush there and when we meet others we talk about how much we have to do and how little time we have. We have a frantic life rather than a focused life. We are like Martha when Jesus said, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things."
Perhaps the best thing we could do is stop rushing and start resting in Jesus. Stop moving and start meditating. Perhaps we need to stop worrying about "so many things" and refocus on those things that are really important. You see it is very easy to get out of focus. There are several things that happens when we get our lives out of focus - at least they happened to Martha. Let me go down the list with you.