Summary: The most important thing you can do in serving the Lord is not serving the Lord. Living for Jesus is more about “being” than “doing.”
The most important thing you can do in serving the Lord is not serving the Lord. Living for Jesus is more about “being” than “doing.”
When I was a student at Central College I had a classmate who was an outstanding student. After he graduated from College he became a principal of a Junior High School in Shawnee Mission Kansas.
When I graduated from Asbury Seminary he called me and told me that he had talked to the Kansas Superintendent of the Free Methodist Churches in Kansas and received his permission to invite me to become pastor of the Kansas City, Kansas First Church. After some days of prayer we finally accepted. What challenged me was what he said. “We don’t have a pastor and the church may have to close if we don’t find one.”
I served five years in Kansas City. My second year my college friend became the Director of our Sunday School. He was also active in working with me to raise funds to build a new parsonage and church. He told me he would do all he could to serve the Lord since he could not afford to tithe and give any of his money to support the ministries of the church.
Years later I talked to his wife at a Central College Class reunion and she told me that she was no longer married. Her husband had left her for another man. He was then serving as Superintendent of School in the Leavenworth, Kansas area. He was willing to serve but he did not service from a heart of love for the risen Lord.
The story found in Luke 10:38-42 is about the priority of “being” rather “doing.” Two sisters demonstrated hospitality in different ways.
In this story we see that Christian Hospitality is about heart-felt ministry.
Christian Hospitality first welcomes Jesus into your heart.
I. Welcome Jesus into Your Heart
“Mary sat at Jesus feet, listening to what Jesus taught.” Luke 10:39
Christian Hospitality means just that. Out of a heart of love for Christ and others we invite people into our homes for fellowship. Martha had the gift of hospitality and she invited Jesus into her home for dinner and fellowship. Martha had the gift of hospitality and when Jesus arrived she continued to prepare the meal for her guest. Jesus didn’t criticize her for her service.
Mary may have started helping her sister prepare the meal and then when Jesus came she left the kitchen and sat at the feet of Jesus listening to his teachings. Martha must have felt abandoned and called out to Jesus, “Lord is it no concern to you that my sister has left me to serve alone?”
From a human point of view, Martha had a legitimate complaint. But Jesus made it clear that “being in His Presence” and being a fully devoted disciple has precedence over doing good works.
We shouldn’t be too hard on Martha. She didn’t know Jesus was only going to have a short three year public ministry. If Martha knew that Jesus was not going to be with them for a longer time she might have also set at His feet listening to his teachings.
Jesus looked at life from a Kingdom perspective. We tend to look at life from a human perspective. We tend to put the task or activity over the importance of heart felt relationships. We get up in the morning and look over our to-do list and determine that we have too much to do and need to skip our time of devotions of Bible reading and prayer.
Jesus is waiting in the devotional room quietly while we plunge into a frantic lifestyle. Jesus would remind us to keep the main thing the main thing.
In John 4 Jesus traveled with his disciples through Samaria. It was lunch time so the disciples went into Sychar to get lunch. Jesus stayed by Jacob’s well outside of Sychar. A woman came to the well for water and Jesus engaged her in conversation. Jesus was more interested in talking to the woman about eternal and moral issues than he was in eating. In talking to the Samaritan woman Jesus crossed all kinds of cultural and gender barriers.
The disciples were more interested in satisfying their hunger needs than delaying personal gratification and listening to a Samaritan woman living a sinful lifestyle. The disciples had a hard time understanding the response of Jesus when they asked him if he wanted lunch. Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”
Jesus was telling Martha that good preparation and eating are important, but not of greatest importance. Jesus emphasized the importance of spiritual things over material things.
The reason I’m emphasizing the value of daily Bible reading and keeping a Spiritual Life Journal is because to Jesus, welcoming him in your heart and taking time for His Word take priority over all your good works. Jesus knows that good works and ministry naturally flows from a heart ablaze with the love of God.