One Needed Thing / Luke 10:38-42 NIV
Intro - How many have been busy this week? How many have more to do than you have time to do it? How many fall into bed exhausted but also frustrated because you didn’t have any time to spend with Jesus?
The Lord Almighty says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps 46:10
Anyone like me who doesn’t feel any relief, just guilt? Today we’re going to look at an incredible 1st century woman by the name of Martha.
Who was Martha?
#1 - Along with Peter she gave an _________________.
“I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” John 11:27
Remember Peter gave an almost identical confession in Matthew 16:16, and Jesus commended him. “Upon this rock I will build my church!”
#2 - Martha was someone who _______________.
“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.” John 11:20
Mary the contemplative. But also not able to rise above her hurt when Lazarus died. Martha went right out. Martha a go-getter, a leader!
#3 - Martha was someone who was _______________.
“But Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is abad odor, for he has been there for four days.” John 11:39b
Martha was the practical one. The one that everyone could count on. She was a problem solver. Not afraid to say what everyone else thinking.
#4 - Martha was someone who was a ______________.
“Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with [Jesus].” John 12:2
Martha knew how to throw a dinner party. She worked behind the scene so others could enjoy themselves. No reclining without Martha serving!
#5 - Martha was someone who was a ________________.
“[Jesus] came to a village where a woman named Martha opened up her home to him.” Luke 10:38
Most 1st century women were low on totem pole with no power or authority. Some unusual women, like Martha, were householders!
#6 - Martha was someone who was ________________.
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” John 11:5
Jesus appreciated Martha. Could relax in her presence. One place he could go to get away. This verse mentions Martha by name (not Mary.)
Let’s never be tempted to pick on Martha. Things get done in life because of the Marthas of the world. CR is so fortunate to have many Marthas in our congregation. So what’s the problem?
Meanwhile, Mary _____________________.
“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.”Luke 10:39 NIV
We don’t have to describe this in too much detail. Because we are so many Marthas, we know how we feel when other people don’t help out. Lazy! Take advantage! We become tired, resentful, angry. HELP ME!
Jesus does an assessment of the situation for us.
This caused Martha to be D.W.U.
“Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made …” Luke 10:40a
What was Martha distracted from? Sitting at Jesus’ feet too. Listening to his teaching. Enjoying the moment with Jesus and the disciples. She had a front row seat to the Master Teacher, but was distracted by all the work. Before we come down too harshly on Martha, notice these words, “all the preparations that had to be made.” Not optional. Someone had to do it! Someone had to take care of disciples: wash their feet, feed them, house them, arrange where they would sleep. Martha is SHAPED for this. She was functioning in her strength. AND Jesus was content to let her do it. So why “distracted”? Original word “to withdraw.” Her focus leaves serving Jesus and re-focuses on Mary not helping.
“Martha, Martha, you are worried … about many things.” Luke 10:41a
When we are distracted away from Jesus and His loving care for us, it is natural that we worry. The problem with worry is that (a) it’s unhelpful - accomplishes nothing. Never solves anything. (b) it’s unreasonable - exaggerates your problems. Makes mountains out of molehills. The more you worry about it, the bigger it becomes. (c) it’s unhealthy - Unnatural. Result - ulcers, headaches, insomnia. Ill. - “worried sick!”
“Martha, Martha, you are … upset about many things.” Luke 10:41b
Upset θορυβάζω means to throw ourselves into trouble. In the Greek dictionary right next to θορυβέω means to throw others into disorder, riot. Put another way, when we are distracted from our peaceful time with Jesus, we can literally throw ourselves into a riot. Make ourselves upset.
Martha had a DWU problem. She was so upset she didn’t even yell at her sister. Ultimately she was offended by Jesus. The more she thought about it, the more DWU she got. Until…
What did Martha do about her DWU?
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!” Luke 10:40b NIV
I’m so glad God told Luke to remember this story. (No one else does.) Because it’s so like us. We just don’t like to admit it. We’ve had these “conversations” with Jesus, right? “Jesus - are you kidding me?” And then we rip into someone else and how they’ve offended us. Good news! God is a BIG GOD and He can take it! It’s always better to tell Him how you’re really feeling than to lock yourself away from him. David griped all the time to God. Even recorded his prayers! We call them “Psalms.”
(See also Psalm 3:7, 10:1, 13:1, 22:1, 58:6)
What did Jesus say to Martha?
Jesus wasn’t harsh with Martha. He won’t be harsh with you either. He appreciated and loved Martha’s unique abilities. Her strengths. Her service. He was a beneficiary. But when we get right down to it, not everything we think needs to be done right now, really HAS TO BE DONE right this second.
“Few things are needed - or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:42 NIV
What was the one needed thing? This isn’t rocket science. The story itself is the answer. The one thing needed is to spend time with Jesus. Mary knew she needed it. Martha needed it but didn’t know it.
We need time with Jesus too. Every day. Whether we’re busy or not. Whether we think we need it or not. So how do we overcome DWU?
_______________ (with myself)
Realize I’m distracted. Learn signs: worry, upset, lack of godly focus, comparisons – envy, anger. When I find that I get irritated over the most minor things. When I hear myself say things I don’t even want to own. It’s time to get honest with God. with myself. I need help.
______________ (with God)
Talk to God. No formula prayers. This is a time to take your honesty straight to the Throne of Grace. Martha could talk to Jesus. David could talk to God. We can’t fake who we really are before God anyway. He really knows us. This is our opportunity to see ourselves for who we really are. Start to heal!
______________ – time with God, time away from service.
We are just fooling ourselves if we think we will just “find the time.” Never will exist. We literally have to “make the time.” That means you have to schedule your time with God. Book it in your calendar. Keep your appointment with God just like you would with anyone else.
______________ – few things are needed.
Don’t complicate this. Remember few things are needed. Find a quiet space. A quiet time. Stop my mind from thinking of everything else and focus my attention on God. If it helps, find one Bible verse and concentrate on it. Meditation on God’s Word to replace my anxious thoughts.
______________ – These next 2 go together.
Start with priority of doing. Are the things I do FOR God more important than the time I spend WITH God? Ask myself: “If I couldn’t do this… would I still be…?” Lesson: Get the priority right! Who I am defines what I do. What I do does NOT define who I am.
_______________ – I am God’s child – his doing not mine.
Nothing I can do can make me more a child of God. Nothing I fail to do can make me less a child of God. He loves me sin and all, mistakes and all. He loves me for me, not for what I do for Him.
________________ - Lack of sleep makes us do stupid things.
Sometimes the most spiritual thing I can do is to take a nap. Check my nightly sleep patterns. You may think you can get by on less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Not so! Not how God designed your body.
________________ – Take a break if necessary.
We understand this when we talk about a vacation. Some of us live for those weeks when we can get away from work. But have you considered a “get away” as a “get to…” as in I “get to” get closer to God? Sometimes a week away from troubles of life focused on God can do wonders!
_______________ – partner, friend, counselor.
God never meant for us to do this alone. We need help. God’s help. But also one another help. Get honest. Get real. Confess to a close partner or friend that you just aren’t spending the time with Jesus that you want and that you need help. Ask them to ask you regularly. You do same 4 them.
_______________ - Get served… the right way. God’s way.
Have you ever considered that your daily quiet times with Jesus are really His way of serving you? Of restoring you? Of loving you? Most of us would jump at the chance for a massage or pedicure. That’s the physical side. Let’s be equally committed to the spiritual side.