Saturday, June 21, 2008
Stop being such a Martha...7 steps to recovery
Are you busy? Is your schedule full? Is your life hectic? Do you find yourself jumping from one appointment to the next? How does your calendar look? Do you have every evening booked solid for weeks out? Do you ever find yourself gasping for air under the load? Do you ever ask the following questions? Where has the time gone? Do I really have time for that?
Contest.....who has the busiest schedule? What about your church schedule? Do you find yourself wrapped up in programs, committees and events? Do you see a time when you could possibly slow down in the near future?
Question...in the Christian life, what is the single most important thing you and I must do? What is the one thing necessary we must do?
Witness to others? Read through our Bibles? Know the 5 points of Calvinism? Memorize the Heidelberg Catechism?
Let's look at the words of Jesus and see for ourselves.
38Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." 41But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
Martha is a hard worker, she sees something that needs to be done and she does it. I kind of get the impression that Martha might have shown her love through her service. She might be the lady who cooks for everyone and continues to offer you food even though you just ate the largest meal of your life.
"Oh, no thanks, I am stuffed!"
"How about some cake? Pie? Ice Cream? After dinner coffee? A side of beef?"
Is Martha a neat freak? I don't know, scripture doesn't say but you get the impression that she can't rest until everything is in it's proper place or until she knows that everyone is taken care of. The scripture states that Martha was "distracted with much serving." I can relate to Martha as I have been guilty of coming home, passing right by my wife and kids, and heading straight for the sink to load the dishwasher or to the living room to pick up toys, or......I just can't rest until everything is in it's proper place! Am I freak or what?
But this business or OCD isn't just relegated to dishes and a living room full of toys, no, it permeates every fabric of life to the point that we don't even see it or recognize it most of the time. In fact, our lives become about doing instead of being to the point that we turn the most mundane, unimportant details and events into the most important while leaving that which is most important undone.
We are a bunch of Marthas and here are the seven steps to recovery.
1. We have to sit at the feet of Jesus
No doubt that Martha was very busy with planning, cleaning, cooking, serving, and entertaining as she invited Jesus into her home. Here in her living room was the Messiah, the living God, the savior of the world and I wonder....why did she invite Jesus into her home? It is obvious from the scripture that she was distracted, couldn't enjoy this time with Jesus, and in fact became upset because her sister wasn't helping her! The only dialogue we see from Martha to Jesus is when she complains to about her sister not helping. Just think...Jesus at your house, in your living room teaching. You can sit with Him, talk to Him, ask Him questions...anything yet you are busy taking out the trash, filling drink orders, and putting dishes in the dishwasher.
Our lives are very busy and there is no such thing as spare time or quiet time anymore in our 24 hour a day lives. Many of us are anxious and troubled about many things and just like Martha, Jesus comes to us and reminds us
41But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,42but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."
Mary was focused on the only thing that truly matters..the only thing in life that is necessary 42...the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Mary was focused on Jesus, looked to Jesus, worshiped Jesus, followed Jesus.
The main thing you and I have to do as Christians is to sit at the feet of Jesus daily first and foremost before we do or attempt to do anything else.
Question? So how do we walk in this today? What should this look like in our own lives? What does it mean to sit at the feet of Jesus?
1. It means we have humility - Mary had taken the lowly position at Jesus' feet and not at His side. Mary did not equate herself with Jesus, she didn't come to Jesus with a list of demands and wants, she didn't lay claim to any rights, she just came and listened.
2. It means we submit ourselves to Jesus - Mary submitted herself to Jesus and His teaching. You and I have to replace the philosophies, perspectives, and opinions of the world with the teachings of Jesus. This happens as we submit areas of our lives over to Jesus in repentance as we turn from our sins and run to Him. This means we give up any rights we have or claims to any happiness we think we are entitled to and turn our lives completely over to Jesus as King. It looks like in the eyes of the world that we are sacrificing and giving up but in reality we are gaining and obtaining the good portion, which will never be taken away from us.
3. It means that we are learning not just listening - Mary sat at Jesus feet. She took the position of a student. This learning is at the core of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, a follower of Jesus. You and I have to be continually following Jesus and learn from Jesus.
4. Sitting at Jesus' feet indicates where we have placed our faith - "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). "As He spoke these words, many believed in Him" (John 8:30). It is important to hear the Word which gives faith because it is by faith that we gain victory over sin. "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 John 5:4-5). Mary believed and overcame.
5. When we sit at the feet of Jesus on a daily basis it means we are holding to His teaching - Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. She was focused, intent, she wasn't going anywhere. If we are to endure, stand firm, and to fight the good fight we must hold to the teaching of Jesus and the only way to do that will be through sitting at His feet on a daily basis.
6. When we sit at the feet of Jesus on a daily basis it shows that we truly love Jesus - Mary could have helped Martha in the kitchen. Was she lazy? Unmotivated? I don't think so. Mary didn't want to leave the room where Jesus was. In light of Him nothing else mattered. Not the dishes, not the meal, not the laundry, the 401k, the next episode of 24, or the new Hulk movie. No, Mary hung on every word that Jesus said. How much time do you spend each week with Jesus? In His word? In prayer? The answer to these questions are a true testimony to who your true master is, who you see as your real savior, and who you love and serve.
24 "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."
We were designed to love and worship Jesus and Him alone. By passionately loving Jesus we will have no room to love anything of the world or the flesh. Our thoughts won't be consumed by the trivial as our perspectives line up to what will truly echo in the eternal.
Jesus said the two greatest commandments are loving God and loving people (Mark 12:28-31). Maybe, maybe we have been too much of a Martha. Sure our kitchens are spotless, the laundry is folded, and the house is well kept but tomorrow it will all be taken away from us with new laundry to do, dishes to wash, lawns to be mowed.
How about each day starting off humbling yourself before the creator of the universe, the only one who can save you from your sins, submitting your heart, mind, body, and soul to Him, listening to His teaching through His word, learning, believing, following through with His commands on your life and for your life and regaining the greatest love of your life and the greatest love the world has or will ever know...Jesus.