Summary: A message point to the hazards of busyness in the Christian life.
"The Good, the Better, and the Best!"
Luke 10:38 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. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40 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. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Introduction: ILL: One day, a teacher was teaching her young class the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha. She carefully explained how Mary and Martha had hurried to clean the house and cook a special meal. Then she paused and asked, "What would you do if Jesus was going to visit your house today?" One little girl quickly responded, "I'd put the Bible on the table!"
I. The Laboring One
a. Her description
The home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus was an oasis for Jesus and His disciples and its nearness to Jerusalem made it a convenient and comfortable place to rest, relax and reload! Martha was probably a wealthy widow and the oldest of the three siblings. How they met we are not told but their friendship with the Lord was important to Him and we have several glimpses of their relationship, not the least of which is the record we have in John chapter 11 of the death and resurrection of Lazarus just six days before the last Passover that Jesus would observe.
b. Her distraction
Martha has invited Jesus into her home and she feels personally responsible for the needs of her guests. This would include all the normal things that we ourselves would do if we had company. There would be meals to prepare and serve and beds to make up, just to name a few. Hospitality would be high up on her list of things to do! I don't want a show of hands but how many of you have stayed home from church because you had company coming to get ready or because company was already there? I have always had a question about this practice and it goes something like this: What kind of a message does it send to your loved ones about the importance of church when you do this and then you ask your church to pray for those loved ones who may be outside side of the ark of safety?
ILL: One morning a farmer told his wife that he was going out to pluck the ripe fruits from his field. He got off to an early start so he could warm up the truck. He needed more petrol, so he went to the store to get it. On the way to the store he noticed the pigs weren't fed. So he proceeded to the corn crib, where he found some sacks of feed. Beside the sacks were potatoes that were sprouting. Then when he started for the potato pit, he passed the wood pile and remembered that his wife wanted wood in the house. As he picked up a few sticks, an ailing chicken passed by. He dropped the wood and picked up the chicken.
When noon arrived, the frustrated farmer had not even gotten to the truck, let alone to the field. By now, it was very hot. Some ripe fruits have dropped.
Have you ever intended to do something you knew was very important, but found yourself in a similar situation - distracted by many other seemingly important tasks, which kept you from accomplishing your main objective?
c. Her discontent
ILL: "Our culture also seems to bow down to the idol of busyness. In her book called, "Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families," Ann Kroeker writes this: "America, the land of the high-achieving, multitasking speedaholics. We're in perpetual motion, never resting, and never quite satisfied...American families are sucked into a vortex of activities and obligations. We pile on appointments, lessons, practices, games, performances, and clubs, and then shovel in fast food...western civilization's high-speed, fast-paced, goal-oriented life has propelled us into a state of minivan mania."
Kroeker also refers to a great book called, "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg in which he tells about the time he asked a friend for some spiritual direction. Ortberg described the pace of life in Chicago, the rhythms of his family life, and the condition of his heart. He wanted to know what he could do in order to be spiritually healthy. After a long pause his mentor answered, "You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." Ortberg wasn't satisfied with this answer so he asked what more he could do. "There is nothing else," the man said. As he reflected on that advice later, Ortberg made this observation: "Hurry is the great enemy of the spiritual life in our day. Hurry can destroy our souls. Hurry can keep us from living well...For most of us, the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them."