Summary: This message is from a series that looks at God's desire for us to live life in a way that avoids being overloaded and overextended.
Busyness and productivity are values that seem to be held high in our culture. In fact, these values are looked on quite favorably in the church. We often live as though busyness is next to Godliness. Dr. J. Grant Howard describes our culture this way, “Some people can’t say no. They enroll in too many courses, hold down too many jobs, volunteer for too many tasks, make too many appointments, serve on too many committees, have too many friends. They are trying to be all things to all people all at once all by themselves.” When we get so busy it is really easy for us to lose our focus on the things that are the most important. This seems to be the issue that Martha is struggling with. Duties and demands had the ability to rob us of our peace and joy. Even in the church this can happen. We can get so busy doing what we perceive as being God’s work that we lose sight of Jesus. Mary and Martha’s experience with Jesus provides us a timeless lesson in regard to what is really important. Many times we need to simply reevaluate our lives and priorities and make some much needed adjustments. More than that, there are just those times that we need to chill out and breathe and get everything back into proper perspective.
I. We are a people that are consumed by worry and what we perceive as urgent responsibilities.
A. Jesus’ arrival in Bethany obviously caused both joy and anxiety as He and His disciples become guests at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
1. Hospitality was extremely important in the ancient Jewish culture and Martha is obviously intent on being a proper host.
2. A proper host would make sure that the guests were very comfortable. The guests would have their feet washed and there would be a meal prepared.
3. One has to wonder if Martha is intent on doing extra things for Jesus because it seems like Martha is actually overdoing it.
4. How would you react if you knew Jesus was coming over after church? Would you go through more trouble for Jesus then you would for other guests?
5. Unfortunately it seems that Martha is working so hard that see becomes distracted and stressed.
6. Martha is obviously out of sorts and unable to enjoy her guests. In fact, she is missing the whole reason for Jesus’ visit.
7. The Greek word periespato is used for distracted and it implies that Martha’s attention was drawn away by the burden of her work.
B. The majority of us allow the culture to draw us into living extremely busy lives to the point that it is extremely hard to focus our attention on what is really important.
1. Studies have shown that when we do two tasks at the same time we take about thirty percent of our attention off the primary task.
2. Whenever two people meet in today’s society the odds say that one or the other will mention how busy they are.
3. In 1950 we had on average ten activities to choose from, today as a result of progress we have a thousand on average. Things are even more complicated because most of these activities are either fun or worthy of our time.