Summary: This sermon is going to focus on Mary and Martha’s different approaches to pleasing to pleasing God and suggest that a balance of both service and reflection is what pleases God.

Balancing Inward and Outward Service

Luke 10:38-42

Online Sermon:

I remember the day when I said YES to the Lord. I was born that day of the water and Spirit and felt an overwhelming peace that comes from being eternally adopted as God’s son. The more I think about having been bought at the price of Jesus’s very life (1 Corinthians 6:20) the more I desire to be not just be a hearer of the word (James 1:22-25) but one who offers Him my best service! I know that many of you share this same desire, so we try to have the nicest buildings, finest music, most interesting programs, eloquent preaching and outreach that like the Good Samaritan demonstrates our love for one another (Luke 10:25-37). But I cannot help but think that 5 percent doing 90 percent of the service in a church is what God wants from His own. Those who over-estimate “their” importance and frantically spend all their time on outward service to God do great harm to their souls, not only do they often become possessive and prideful but also spiritually weak because they are not depending on and spending time with He who sustains and feeds their souls! Such a person has the tendency to serve so heartedly that the object of one’s service, Christ, gets drowned out in business! Those who do not regularly commune with the Holy Spirit will “do commonplace things very well” but without taking time to be holy their service will never attain the divine fruit intended. The following sermon is going to begin with the parable of the Good Samaritan to emphasize how important it is for us to not just be hearers but doers of His word. The final part of the sermon is going to focus on Mary and Martha’s different approach to pleasing Christ in Luke 10:38-42 and suggest that to please God one must obtain a balance of both service and reflection.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan (10:25-37)

One day an expert in the law tested Jesus with the question “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (25)? Jesus answered him by asking him the question “what is written in the law” (26) to which he answered, “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and Love your neighbor as yourself” (27). To justify his meager service towards others he asked Jesus who is my neighbor to which Jesus spoke the following parable:

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

When the expert in the law answered, “the one who had mercy on him” (36), Jesus told him to “go and do likewise” (37). “The priest and the Levite of the Parable of the Good Samaritan needed to learn that God and people are better served by deeds of mercy than by religious rituals.” When presented with an opportunity to serve the Good Samaritan dropped everything he was doing and demonstrated his love through service of both time and money! Likewise, we too are to be ready and willing to serve whenever God asks! Though we are not saved by our works we are “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:9-10)! Since we are to be doers of the word God expects all of us to use our spiritual gifts to build one another up in the faith (1 Corinthians 12) and to offer cups of water (Mark 9:41) and love to those in need (Matthew 25:31-46).

Mary and Martha (10:38-42)

To keep one from thinking that one should serve 24/7, Luke introduces another story about two sisters of Bethany, Mary and Martha.

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