Summary: There is a passage in the Gospel of Luke that talks about two sisters and their attitudes and methods for spending time with the Lord. One of the sisters had her spiritual priorities straight. The other was too busy to listen.

Too Busy To Listen

Luke 10:38-42

Preached by Pastor Tony Miano

Pico Canyon Community Church

December 31, 2000

Introduction: A few weeks ago, I was talking with Pamela and Linda after church. We were talking about the fact that while it is good to study God’s Word verse-by-verse, it’s also important to be sensitive to needs or concerns that come up along the way that affect members of the congregation. We agreed that when I become aware of such times when there are specific issues affecting members of our body, I should be willing to deviate from a series or book study to address whatever pertinent issue is important to the church family at the moment.

Not even a week after my conversation with Pamela and Linda, I became aware of a concern that is probably affecting more people in our church family than I even realize. During our first men’s discipleship meeting, a few of the guys, myself included, shared about how the business of their lives was negatively impacting the depth and breadth of their spiritual growth. I’m sure a few of us began thinking about the same passage of Scripture. But it was Lance who was first to mention it.

There is a passage in the Gospel of Luke that talks about two sisters and their attitudes and methods for spending time with the Lord. One of the sisters had her spiritual priorities straight. The other was too busy to listen.

Turn with me in your Bibles to Luke, chapter ten. This morning we’re going to study these two sisters and compare their walks with Christ to our own. As we look at a snapshot of the lives of these two sisters, we’re going to look at three things that can make us too busy to listen—too busy to listen to the Lord’s direction and counsel. You see, there are times when we can become too busy with distractions, too busy with complaints, and too busy with worry to listen to the Lord.

Let’s begin with word of prayer.

Backgrounds of Martha and Mary

This morning we will be giving our attention to verse 38-42 in Luke 10.

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Now as we read this passage, there were probably some key words that jumped out at you as you listened to the story. There is, indeed, a wealth of instruction and encouragement in this passage. But before we dig into the text, let’s see if we can get to know the two sisters in the story a little better. Knowing more about the sisters may help us to understand why their attitudes were so different and why Jesus responded the way He did.

Martha and Mary lived in a village that was known, in biblical times, as Bethany. The name means, “house of unripe figs.” People in the times of Jesus also referred to Bethany as the “house of misery.” One of the reasons Bethany was given this unflattering nickname was due to the fact that invalids had a tendency to congregate in the village.

Bethany was also known for its hospitality, especially to those who were making pilgrimages to or vacationing in Jerusalem. Bethany is located about 1.5-2.0 miles away from Jerusalem, which places it east of the Jordan River and on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.

Bethany had some significance in Jesus’ ministry. He spent a significant amount of time there. This is the place where John the Baptist ministered and verbally jousted with the Pharisees. Bethany was the place where John introduced Jesus to the world. John probably baptized Jesus in the area. Jesus would retire to Bethany after doing ministry in Jerusalem.

The gospels tell us that Jesus spent time in the home of Simon the Leper while in Bethany. After cleansing the temple of the moneychangers, Jesus went to Bethany. Jesus began His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, from Bethany. And He led His disciples to Bethany and allowed them to watch His ascent into heaven from this small town.

Martha and Mary lived in Bethany with their brother, Lazarus. Remember that it was Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. Bethany still exists in Israel, but now goes by the name Lazariyeh, or “The Place of Lazarus.”

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