Summary: Comparing the actions of Mary and Martha as they were in the presence of Jesus.
Listening, Laboring & Living For Jesus
Some years ago I was involved with a big project for the company I was working for. I had been working on this specific task for about a week and was making great progress. The supervisor had called a special meeting one morning for all who were involved in this project. I was so busy working that I missed the beginning of the meeting, I figured since I was already late, I would just continue working on the task at hand. I worked on for several hours and then the supervisor stopped by and noticed all that I had done. I was proud of what I had accomplished and was waiting for a pat on the back. He walked in the warehouse and said “things look really good in here, too bad you did it all for nothing, we decided yesterday to move all of this stuff to the company headquarters (which was in another town). He then added, you would have known this if you had been at the meeting this morning!” My pat on the back turned into a kick in the gut. I was so busy working that I missed out on what my boss really wanted me to do!
Sometimes in church life or Christian service we may get so busy that we miss out on an important message from Jesus. We may be so consumed with church work that we miss out on worship. We may be focused on ministry and forget the Master. We may be overwhelmed with the tasks at hand that we forget why we were working in the first place.
It is very important for us to work for Jesus! Scripture tells us that “the harvest is great and that there are few laborers in the field”
- Our Lord desires our service to Him
- He delights in our service to Him
- He deserves our service to Him
- He demands our service to Him
There is no doubt that we could all do more for our Lord! But the subject tonight is more about timing. There is a time to work for the Lord, but equally important is for us to take time to listen to the Lord. These facts are illustrated in the lives of Lazarus’ sisters “Mary & Martha”.
I would like to step inside Martha’s home for a little while and examine the actions of each of Lazarus’ sisters and preach on the thought “Listening, Laboring & Living for Jesus”
Let’s me go ahead and give you the outline:
i. It Is Important To Labor For The Lord
ii. It Is Imperative To Listen To The Lord
As we consider the actions of Mary & Martha in these few verses, let us not forget that these are both faithful disciples of Jesus. As we read in the story of Lazarus’ resurrection they are close friends with Jesus and He loved them both very much. I have no doubt that at times Mary served Jesus and Martha listened to Jesus and vice versa.
The successful Christian life is a life that is well balanced. A church would be in a dangerous predicament if everyone labored all the time and never listened to the Master. The same would apply if a church was comprised of people who listened to the Lord all the time but never put to action the things that they heard from Him.
Let’s look to the text and begin with the fact that:
I. IT IS IMPORTANT FOR US TO LABOR FOR THE LORD v38-40
* v38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
* v40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
There is no question that both of these ladies loved the Lord. In scripture every time they are mentioned their love for Jesus is apparent! Here, Martha opens up her home to the Lord and His disciples. It is believed that Martha was a widow and that Mary & Lazarus lived with her. She worked very hard to be a good hostess to the guests in her home.
If you knew that Jesus was going to physically come to your house and knock on the door this evening chances are you wouldn’t be here, you would be doing all you could to get the house in order for Jesus’ visit. (That sounds like another sermon in itself)
Many times we are so focused on our service to Jesus that we ignore Him in the process. That is exactly what happened to Martha. Notice …Martha was thrilled for Jesus to be in her home. No doubt, she desired to spend time with Him. But in her mind there were some things that had to be done first.