Summary: Fourth in a series about “The Presence Driven Church”, lessons from Martha and Mary and their different responses to God’s Presence with their resulting experiences.
The Presence Driven Church
Responding to God’s Presence
Fourth in a series about “The Presence Driven Church”, lessons from Martha and Mary and their different responses to God’s Presence with their resulting experiences.
Luke 10:38-40 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
It is interesting to note in this scripture that Martha welcomed Jesus into her house; there are many of us that welcome Jesus into our lives and corporate gatherings but fail to respond in worship to Him. We must ask ourselves what is the most important thing to do when God shows up? Time after time in scripture we read about those who respond in a right way to God’s Presence and those who respond in a wrong way. There is no doubt that God wants to be with us but what do we do when He comes? This where we have to shift from acknowledging the “manifest” presence of God and leaving it at that or pursuing Him in order to enter into a “personal” presence of intimacy.
Note Moses experience: Exodus 33:11 Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.
In our text the story of Martha and Mary we see that Mary draws near but Martha is distracted in her service.
Culturally speaking when a guest would come to a home in the days of Martha and Mary it would be incumbent upon the women to prepare and serve a meal while the men would converse so Martha in fact would seem from a natural standpoint to be doing the right thing. Let us ask ourselves this question. What is more important in our lives, being seen to be doing what is expected from people, or going “outside the camp” and encountering God? Today we are so consumed by doing we have forgotten about being. Did God save us for service or relationship?
How do we know whether living our lives for God is true worship or simply what we think is expected? How do we know whether we are Martha’s or Mary’s for we are all required to give of ourselves. In examining these characteristics there is no attempt to be critical of Martha just to emphasize the importance of our response to Jesus. Notice these great qualities in Martha’s life as pointed out in Dake’s Bible:
1. She received Jesus (Luke 10:38).
3. She was the first to go to Him when in need (John 11:20,30).
4. She had faith in Him (John 11:21-22).
5. She believed in physical resurrection and eternal life (John 11:23-27).
6. She confessed Jesus to be the Christ and God’s Son (John 11:27).
7. She carried Christ’s message to Mary (John 11:28).
The Martha Believer
• Welcomes the manifest visitation of Jesus but does not pursue a more personal relationship
• Becomes distracted by a self imposed form of service or worship which is fleshly in its origin and expectation
• This leads to an attitude of anxiety and worry about performance, measuring up to some standard, or perfection that is not required by God Martha was cumbered—perplexed, She was harassed with different cares and employments at the same time; one drawing one way, and another, another: a proper description of a worldly mind.
• Next comes anger and frustration because of the feeling I am the only one doing anything around here
• Then comes a critical or judgmental spirit of what are they doing, how come no one helps etc
• This leads to rebuking others
• Finally blaming God for our situation
The result is a wrong response to God’s presence instead of worship there is strife!
The Mary Believer
• Recognizes that when God is present there is more benefit to spending time with Him than in any other response
• Understands that whatever God speaks is the most important thing to hear so desires “to listen”
• Positions themselves to receive, “sat at His feet” This was the posture of the Jewish scholars, while listening to the instructions of the rabbis. It is in this sense that St. Paul says he was brought up at the FEET of Gamaliel, Acts 22:3.
• Is drawn into a greater intimacy with God