Summary: We are called to be a balanced Church. We must achieve a balance between service and worship. The story of Martha and Mary focuses on finding that balance.
There was a person who lost their daily planner awhile back. It contained all of their contact addresses, their calendar, to-do list, and monthly reminders. It even held their personal credit card information and expenses for the past year. They were devastated. Not as much for the loss of their personal information, which was bad enough, but because they had appointments scheduled and notes to themselves that they hadn't recorded anywhere else? They didn't know where they were supposed to be or when, and they didn't know what they needed to do!
Does that describe you? Do you find yourself too busy to manage your life without putting your schedule in writing? Do you ever say to yourself or to someone else, "If I don't write that down, I'll forget it"? Do you feel as if you spend as much time recording your life events as you do participating in them? Would you be devastated if you lost your daily planner? Welcome to the club!
"Too busy" is a phrase we say and hear as often today as "good morning." Busyness is such a part of all of our lives that most of us simply can't manage without help in one form or another. Consider these statistics:
Do you know why most Americans do not vote? They are too busy.
Do you know why 55% of Americans do not attend church? They are too busy.
Do you know why 47% of Christians do not read their Bibles? They are too busy.
Do you know why 17,000 to 50,000 pastors leave the ministry annually? It is not because they are too busy but because the Church is too busy to help them in ministry.
Last weekend was a busy weekend. We were hosting our first ever VBS. There were a lot of people trying to juggle a lot of balls. Often they were trying to throw those balls to me. The plans for getting bounce houses fell through creating a situation where it became necessary to scramble to rent one thus involving someone’s time in getting it from the rental company.
Saturday was stressful for me personally, securing the bounce house, trying to insure that those in leadership had people assigned to the correct places, encouraging others due to a low turnout, and making sure that a clean-up process was in motion before leaving for a surprise birthday party for a dear friend.
Although there was a guest speaker Sunday, I discovered about ten minutes before services that the children’s ministry leader was sick and was not going to be able to lead. I had no idea that she had arraigned with someone else to cover for her. So I was in a panic. To be honest, by Sunday afternoon I was rather tired of church.
Here is a reality. As in life you can get too busy with church that you miss the purpose of church. You can get so busy that you forget to worship, pray, mediate on God’s Word, and be in his presence.
On the other hand you can use worship, prayer, and meditation as an excuse for not serving actively in God’s Kingdom. There must be a balance. Today we will look at two women searching for this balance and learn from them how we can balance our spiritual life.
We will begin with Luke 10:38-40 “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”
Two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha, it seems, has a Type A personality. She is ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, and impatient. She takes on more than she can handle, wanting other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics" who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.
In his 1996 book, Type A Behavior: Its Diagnosis and Treatment, Friedman suggests that Type A behavior is expressed in three major symptoms: free-floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents; time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation usually described as being "short-fused"; and a competitive drive, which causes stress and an achievement-driven mentality.
Martha has invited Jesus into her home. The Bible does not say Mary’s home. Martha was the hostess. This was her ministry. She decided to invite him. She decided to fix a big dinner. Type-A people will often launch a ministry or an outreach and find themselves angry when others do not show the same enthusiasm. They feel the pressure of time restraints and soon become irritated and exasperated.