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Are you a Mary or Martha?

April 26, 2016

Grace to you! Often times the message we hear from church is that we all need to get out of our pews and serve more. But there can be a time when serving actually hinders our relationship with Jesus Christ. Biblically speaking, there needs to be a balance and priority.

Listen to these words from Luke 10:38-42, “Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching . But 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.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Notice how serving the Lord can potentially cause problems. First, it can cause problems if we over commit to activities instead of spending time with Jesus. Martha was culturally expected to host Jesus and all His disciples. This was no small feat in a day when all meals were made from scratch. Jesus told her that her focus on activities was causing her to fear and worry. Busyness in church life can be a joy killer. Many people are busy but not productive. Productivity comes first by sitting at Jesus’ feet.

Second, serving the Lord can cause problems with other people if we are more focused on activity than Jesus. Martha is not only a busybody, but now she’s upset with Mary for not helping! (vs 40) She even scolds Jesus for not making Mary help her! When you begin to have problems with others in the church for not serving like you do or getting frustrated with the Lord for not moving others to do what you do, then you know that you have become more focused on the activity than sitting first at Jesus’ feet.

Third, serving the Lord can cause use problems when we over assume authority. Martha not only assumed she had to take care of everything, but she assumed because she was serving so much she had the right to tell Mary what to do. Have you become bossy of others? Do you overstep your bounds in the church with others about what they do or how they do it? If so, it’s a clear sign you have forgotten to sit first at Jesus’ feet and learn from Him!

Jesus’ reminds Martha that only one thing is necessary: spending time with Him! In life there will always be opportunities for service and activity at church. But spending time with Christ is far more important than activities. This is not to say we shouldn’t serve or be active. But it is an issue of priorities in the right order. If we spend time in worship, then that will direct and guard all of our activities for the Lord. Our service will be a blessing rather than a burden for us and others if we sit at Jesus’ feet first!

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