Summary: once you establish your priorities, make sure that these things are taken care of before anything else. Never let anything get in the way of your priorities. Put first things first.
“First Things First”
Stephen Covey has written an excellent book titled the Seven habits of highly effective people. The book is been around for some time now. I first read it about 25 years ago and I studied the book with a group of professionals in Nashville. We spent about 65 hours together learning the principles that are in the book and how to use them in ministry. One of the seven habits is this: learn to put first things first.
In other words, once you establish your priorities, make sure that these things are taken care of before anything else. Never let anything get in the way of your priorities. Put first things first. In this preaching series we have been looking at Luke 2:52 and I told you that in order to live a balanced life as Jesus did, there are four areas we must pay attention to. This is the verse-and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.
1. So first of all, get wisdom. Learn to be wise. Proverbs 4:7. Be wise.
2. Be Fit. Be physically fit. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the only one you have. If you don’t take care of it, no one will do it for you.
3. Now we move to the 3rd part of this verse today. Be still. The Psalmist records these words. Be still and know that I am God. The scripture says in Luke 10: 38-42.
So at this time Jesus was beginning to establish a following. Mary and Martha lived just outside Jerusalem in the town of Bethany. They were sisters and their brother was Lazarus the one Jesus raised from the dead. Jesus was apparently friends with all three of them. We are told that Martha was the one who met Jesus at the door that day and welcomed him into their house. Now there is no doubt that she wanted everything to be just right in her home when Jesus came to visit. I mean after all, if I told you that Jesus would be coming to your house today at 1 o’clock, I’m guessing that most of you would get up and go home so you could be prepared for his visit. Right? So Martha was busy working while Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening to what he had to say. We cannot help but notice in this passage that Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the best part. And what we notice here are some differences in these two women. Basically, Mary chose to sit and be still at the feet of Jesus while Martha elected to get the meal and her home ready for the visit. Both have a priority; both were necessary, but one of them shows the better option.
Notice first of all there was a difference in their focus. Focus simply means that we center our attention on something or someone. And we do it at the expense of everything else. Jesus was the honored guest so it was customary to prepare a meal for the guest. And I feel sure Martha put everything she had into it. She was busy serving Jesus. I should be clear at this point-Martha’s service was not a bad thing. But the problem is Martha had allowed it to become her focus. Now think about this for a moment... You have the Lord of the universe-God himself in your home but you are too busy to listen to what he has to say. You are too busy doing things for him and you have no time to speak with him.
It still happens of course... We come to church, we sit in the presence of the Lord and our thoughts are 1000 miles away. Our minds are too busy to hear what God has to say. One of the things this passage has to say to all of us is that we must be careful that we do not put all of our energy into things that are temporary. Spending time with Jesus is always the better option. Choose the best part.
Two. There was a difference in their fellowship. Let’s look now at Mary. She was seated at the feet of Jesus. The Greek implies that she literally sat down right at His feet. As close as she could get. Mary did not want to miss a single word that Jesus had to say. Let me remind you this morning that right now you are is close to Jesus as you want to be. You have all of him that you want. We all have to answer the question, how much do I want? You determine your own level of spiritual experience with Jesus. So here’s the question again. How much of God do you ewant? In this passage it all comes down to priorities; what comes first in your life? You and I both know what it takes to grow spiritually.