Summary: Amidst the busyness of secular and Christian life, God is calling us to be still and know that He is God.
***It should be noted that parts of this sermon have come from the fantastic resource Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala.***
My prayer for today is that we would all be challenged. Not that we would come to church expecting to leave feeling warm and fuzzy. But that, at the end of our time here, you and I would be moved closer to what Christ has for us. I have a list of goals for my life that I would like to see happen in the next few years. They’re not written anywhere, but they’re in the back of my head.
1)Start Master’s program
2)Beat Pastor John at squash, then golf
3)Develop a stronger prayer life
4)Leave witty notes of encouragement for Pastor John that his golf game can only get better
This is just part of my list of things I would like to do in the next year or so. We all have lists of things we would like to do in the next year, in the next week and even in the next day. And certainly there is nothing wrong with that. That’s a good thing. But often a goal that we miss is developing a deeper prayer life. Now, we all take a certain amount of time out with God. For some, it is an enriching hour every day. But for most of us, myself included, sometimes the busyness of daily demands begins to crowd out my time with God, and I buy into the lies that the enemy has placed in my life towards prayer C.S. Lewis wrote, “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists of shoving it all back, in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.” When we allow the busyness of our lives to crowd in, our prayers can become vending machine prayers. We quickly put in our two cents and punch in the numbers for what we want. A4-forgiveness, or D3-a good day. It is a temptation to approach God from the throne of race, rather than meeting Him at the throne of grace.
Our passage of Scripture comes from Luke 10:38-42.
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
When I look at this passage, I have to admit that I am a little confused. You know, if I had the Son of God over to my place for supper, I’d probably want to make Him something a little better than Kraft macaroni and cheese. I’d be running too! I’d be making sure nothing was out of order, that our dog Zoe wasn’t biting Jesus and that He was comfortable. So what was Martha’s problem? Was her desire to serve Jesus the problem? No, but we can see in verse forty that she was distracted. Martha was preoccupied with serving instead of sitting at Jesus’ feet. She was also feeling sorry for herself. She says, “Lord don’t you care…?” And Martha was demanding. She tells the Lord what she wants Him to do, instead of letting the Lord tell her what to do. And as the body of Christ, don’t we act in much the same way? We like to make sure that everything in our services are well-organized, that the church is clean, that nothing is uncomfortable that we forget about who we’re meeting. What would happen if one day, Pastor John got up here and said, “You know what family of Christ? I didn’t have time to prepare a sermon because I just felt I needed to pray this week?” Wouldn’t it be ridiculous to think, “But we need the sermon more than we need your prayer!?” We get caught up in setting our own personal agenda before God that we essentially move God into a box. Are we more concerned about finishing a Sunday service on time or that we’ve met with God in that time?
(taken from Fresh Wind...)Consider this, we are willing to pay upwards of $40 to hear a Christian artist play from his latest album, yet Jesus can’t draw a crowd in times of prayer. There are experts in the fields of parenting, marriage, church building strategies and how to get the most out of your life. Yet, the chance of divorce has never been higher, more churches are closing rather than expanding and still people are turning to drugs, sex and religion. So what is the issue? We have more specialized programs within the church from junior high through to small groups, from single mom’s classes to senior high worship night, so what is the issue? The problem is, we are so caught up not only in the world’s activity, but in good-intentioned Christian activity that we are not turning to what should be the most fundamental aspect of our lives.