Summary: Being mindfully present in the moment helps us discern the one thing worty being concerned about.

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Life is filled with distractions (from within and without…)

Title: Being Mindful of the One Thing

Text: Luke 10:38-42 (Reference the context: In 10:25-20 Jesus shared the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor; in 10:30-37 Jesus taught on what it means to love one’s neighbor; and in 10:38-42 an incident from the life of Jesus illustrates how by being mindful, we may love God.)

Thesis: Being mindfully present in the moment helps us discern the one thing worth being concerned about.


Pastor James Wright tells of a water fountain feature in his mother’s garden. His mother calls the water feature “Willie’s Dilemma.” If you look closely at the feature you will see a little boy with a puzzled look on his face who wants very much to have drink from the fountain… he is obviously too short to reach the water bubbling from the fountain. There reason he looks so puzzled and perplexed is that in order to get the drink he will have to climb up to get it. And if he climbs up to get it he will have to put down the ice cream cone he is holding in his hand. Hence Willie’s Dilemma… Willie can’t decide what he wants to do. Does Willie want a drink or does Willie want the ice cream? What does Willie want most? What is most important to Willie?

Our story today is something of a Willie’s Dilemma story. The story, lifted from an occasion in the life of Christ in Luke 10:38-42, poses a juxtaposition between two sisters named Martha and Mary. Both sisters were faced with choices and each opted to do what they thought to be, most important.

The difference between the two sisters and the difference in what each considered most important, is clearly stated in verses 39-40: Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what Jesus taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. Luke 10:39-40

On one hand, Mary was sitting at the Lord’s feet, listening to Jesus teach. And on the other hand, Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing.

So how do we begin to sort out the tension and the tugs of between devotion and distraction in this story?

Let’s be begin by allowing for legitimate differences between people.

I. People are different...

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening… Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. Luke 10:39-40

In our home you will likely find me in my recliner reading a book while Bonnie is bustling about being busy. Of course I feel superior because I can relax and enjoy life while Bonnie feels superior because she, unlike me, is not lazy. People are different.

People are different in temperament.

A. There are legitimate differences in “Temperament.” Mary was Mary and Martha was Martha. They were two very different people. They were wired differently.

Hippocrates believed that four different bodily fluids affected human temperaments. That idea has long been debunked though we now know there is a complex system of hormones which help regulate emotion and cognition. But even back in the 4th and 5th Centuries there was belief that there are four major temperaments of personality traits:

• Sanguine – a person with a sanguine temperament is pleasure-seeking and sociable.

• Choleric – a person with a choleric temperament is ambitious and leader-like.

• Melancholic – a person with a melancholic temperament is analytical and thoughtful.

• Phlegmatic – a person with a phlegmatic temperament is relaxed or laid-back and quiet.

Tim Lahaye popularized these four temperaments years ago when he wrote a very popular book called Spirit-Controlled Temperaments. Christians flocked to buy his book and churches rolled our small group studied to determine who was what in the Christian community and how to bring each under the control of the Holy Spirit.

More recently the Meyers-Briggs Personality Assessment tool boils down individual temperaments into

16 personality types which fall under two categories: Sensing Types and Intuitive Types. So if you have taken the Meyers-Briggs Assessment you might be asked in an interview, “What is your Meyers-Briggs Type?” And you would say something like, “I am an ISTJ.” Or “I am an ENTP.” The I stands for Introversion and the E stands for Extroversion. Every person is primarily an introvert or an extrovert and there are 8 variations of introverts and 8 variations of extroverts.

The results of my Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator scored me as an E N F P. The E stands for extroversion, the N for intuition, the F for feeling and the P for perceiving. All that means in Meyers-Briggs language is that I am warmly enthusiastic, high-spirited, ingenious, and imaginative. I am able to do almost anything that interests me. I am quick with a solution and ready to help anyone with a problem. I often rely on my ability to improvise instead of preparing in advance. I can usually find a compelling reason to do whatever I want to do.

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