Sermons

Summary: Learning from Mary and Martha’s responses, we can see why it is important to maintain a proper balance between discipleship and spiritual work.

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OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES CAN SOMETIMES BE LIKENED TO A PENDULUM OF A CLOCK. ONE DAY OUR FAITH SWINGS FORWARD IN ZEAL AND DESIRE AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT OUR FAITH SWINGS BACKWARD BY THE FORCES OF BUSYNESS AND DISTRACTIONS.

IT IS TRULY A FINE BALANCE BETWEEN DOING TOO MUCH FOR GOD AND STEPPING BACK AND DOING TOO LITTLE. STAYING FOCUSED ON OUR TRUE PRIORITY IS, INDEED, CHALLENGING.

I BELIEVE THIS IS THE POWERFUL LESSON WE SEE BEHIND THE EVENTS PLAYING OUT IN THE HOME OF MARY AND MARTHA. THE MESSAGE IS ONE THAT RESOUNDS TO ALL OF US TO ENSURE THAT WE BALANCE OUR SPIRITUAL LIVES.

DISCIPLESHIP IS A BALANCED COMBINATION OF TWO THINGS: SERVICE AND REFLECTION. THERE HAS TO BE A FINE BALANCE BETWEEN SPENDING TIME BUILDING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST AND PUTTING YOUR FAITH INTO ACTION. WE NEED TO WORK HARD AT BOTH “DOING" AND “BECOMING."

THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO LESSONS IN THIS PASSAGE. MOST WILL ALWAYS FOCUS ON THE FACT THAT MARTHA IS DISTRACTED, UPSET, AND IRRITATED, WHILE MISSING THE POINT MADE BY MARY. JUST LIKE THAT PENDULUM OF THE CLOCK, IF WE ARE NOT CAREFUL OUR DISCIPLESHIP CAN SWING TOO FAR IN EITHER DIRECTION.

MARTHA LET HER PENDULUM SWING TOO FAR BACK! IT IS A GREAT TEMPTATION TO SERVE AT THE EXPENSE OF BEING FED SPIRITUALLY. I BELIEVE JESUS IS TEACHING MARTHA THAT SHE IS GETTING DISTRACTED AND OVERWHELMED BY GOING OVERBOARD WITH THINGS THAT REALLY WERE NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

IN ATTEMPTING TO SERVE JESUS, SHE DID NOT UNDERSTAND OR ATTEND TO THE REASON FOR JESUS BEING THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE. SHE WAS MORE FOCUSED ON MAKING AN IMPRESSION AND ENDED UP FRUSTRATED, OVERWORKED AND UNABLE TO ENJOY HAVING JESUS IN HER HOME.

IT IS GOOD TO WANT TO SERVE JESUS AS AN EXPRESSION OF OUR LOVE FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US. YET, WHEN OUR ACTIVITIES CONSUMES OUR TIME AND ENERGIES SO THAT WE HAVE NO TIME FOR HIM, WE HAVE BECOME TOO BUSY, LIKE MARTHA!

JESUS IS TEACHING US, THROUGH MARTHA, THAT OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY MUST BE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. IF ANYTHING DETRACTS US FROM THAT RELATIONSHIP, THAT ACTIVITY THAT WE ARE DOING IS NOT FROM GOD.

WE MUST NEVER GET DISTRACTED AND FOCUSED ON THE INCIDENTAL RATHER THAN THE ALL-IMPORTANT OR SEEK THE TEMPORARY THINGS INSTEAD OF THE ETERNAL THINGS. JUST REMEMBER, GOD WILL NOT ASK US TO DO SOMETHING THAT HINDERS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS SON, JESUS. AT TIMES, SERVING GOD AND CARRYING OUT HIS MISSION IS THE BEST WAY TO KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD. AT OTHER TIMES, IT WILL BE MORE IMPORTANT TO SIT QUIETLY AT HIS FEET AND LISTEN TO HIM.

THAT BRINGS US, NOW, TO MARY! HERE, MARY’S PENDULUM SWINGS FORWARD AS SHE HAS DETERMINED WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT AT THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IS TO SIT AT THE FEET OF JESUS TO LEARN FROM HIM.

MARY SHOWS US THAT THERE ARE TIMES IN OUR LIVES THAT NO MATTER WHAT IS PRESSING, WHAT IS DEMANDED OR EXPECTED OF US, THERE COULD BE NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN SPENDING TIME ALONE WITH GOD REFLECTING ON HIS WORD AND TEACHINGS.

TODAY, I THINK THIS TRANSLATES INTO A MESSAGE FOR US THAT SAYS WE MUST INVITE MOMENTS OF SILENCE INTO OUR LIVES WHERE WE SPEND TIME IN SOLITUDE BEFORE GOD IN PRAYER, LISTENING FOR HIS VOICE, AND LEARNING FROM HIM WHERE OUR RESPONSE TO HIS WILL MUST BE CARRIED OUT IN THE WORLD.

THE MESSAGE FROM JESUS MAY COME ACROSS A LITTLE OFFENSIVE IF WE MISINTERPRET IT AS UNCARING. DO NOT GET JESUS WRONG; HE IS NOT BEING UNAPPRECIATIVE OF MARTHA’S HARD WORK AND WILLINGNESS TO PREPARE A BIG FANCY DINNER.

THE REMARK JESUS MADE TO MARTHA WHEN HE SAID, "YOU ARE WORRIED AND TROUBLED ABOUT MANY THINGS," WAS JESUS REMINDING HER THAT THERE IS A TIME TO WORK AND A TIME TO LISTEN. IT IS SUCH A GREAT TEMPTATION TO SERVE AT THE EXPENSE OF BEING FED SPIRITUALLY.

BUT, EVEN AS I SAID BEFORE, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO LET THE PEDULUM SWING TOO FAR BACK, WE ALSO CANNOT AFFORD TO LET IT SWING TOO FAR FORWARD. IN OTHER WORDS, WE CANNOT GET SO HEAVENLY-MINDED THAT WE BECOME NO EARTHLY GOOD.

MOST WILL MISS THIS IMPORTANT LESSON IN THIS SCRIPTURE PASSAGE BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH MARY IS DOING WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT, WE STILL NEED TO LEARN THAT WE ARE NOT CALLED TO CONTINUALLY SIT AT THE FEET OF JESUS WHILE THE WORLD MARCHES ON!

IF WE STAY IN A PERPETUAL STATE OF SERENITY, REST, AND RELAXATION, OUR SERVICE TO GOD WOULD GROW STALE, POSSIBLY COME TO A HALT OR CEASE ALTOGETHER. THE MORE WE GROW CONTENT THE LESS WE HEAR, THE MORE UNRESPONSIVE WE BECOME, THE LESS THE WORLD IS IMPACTED FOR JESUS CHRIST.

WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GET TOO COMFORTABLE IN OUR PEWS OR TOO CONTENT WITH OUR LIFE-STYLE ROUTINES THAT OUR FAITH ERODES TO JUST ATTENDING SERVICES ON SUNDAY. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO GROW CONTENT WITHIN THE SILENCE OF OUR DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYER TIME THAT IT EVENTUALLY SLOWS DOWN OR HINDERS OUR SPIRITUAL WORK AT HAND. WE MUST GUARD OURSELVES SO THAT WE DO NOT CONVINCE OURSELVES THAT OUR TIME WITH GOD IS OUR SPIRITUAL WORK FOR THE DAY.

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