Listen to Jesus

October 30, 2016   Luke10:38 – 42    Listening to Jesus  

  

   Three weeks ago we shared about the 72 men that Jesus sent out 2 by 2.  Jesus sent them out with authority and power.  Jesus sent them out because he cared for the people and saw them as sheep without a shepherd.   He told the disciples to pray for laborers.  Jesus also sent them out because they went before him and he was going to those villages and towns to preach and heal.   The men came back rejoicing that even the demons were subject to them and Jesus told them to rejoice that their names were written in heaven.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus. 

   Two Weeks ago we talked about the parable of the Good Samaritan.   The Samaritan helped the person who was in the ditch most likely a Jew.  The Jew would never help the Samaritan because the Jews thought of the Samaritans as enemies and they were hated.  The Samaritan had a passion to help a person in need.  We talked about how it might feel to be the Samaritan and what kind of a person would we find it difficult to help and last week we heard where Jesus told Peter if you love me feed my sheep.  I am blessed and it is good to see the passion we have for others.  We are growing in Christ likeness.  You are becoming more like Jesus. 

    This week we want to share this wonderful story about sitting at the feet of Jesus.  I want to mention that I think that the most important thing a pastor can do is pray and the ministry of the word.  What is the most important thing you can do?   I just read in Acts 6 this week.   So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.   Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” 

  .   Jesus takes time for people and He has time for you today.   John 11:5 says that Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.  Mary, Martha and Lazarus were brothers and sisters.  Jesus probably enjoyed going to visit their home.  For those that are itinerant and work a lot when they travel it is nice to have a place to retreat and get away from work and the pressures of life.   For Jesus some time away from the leaders that tried to trap him had to be a welcome blessing.  Jesus even in his busy ministry finds time to spend with friends.   It is amazing that the creator of the whole world loves people and died for people and Jesus wants to spend time with his friends.   There are many people for Jesus to heal and to preach to but we see him turning aside from the crowds to minister and visit with his friends that He loved.    He needed times to rest and to enjoy the presence of friends.  He needed time to recharge. 

    Jesus is traveling and stops into this home of Mary and Martha.   No cell phones in those days so you could not call ahead you just sort of drop in.   Scriptures tell us that Jesus and His disciples were traveling and they come to a village where Mary and Martha live.   Martha probably does not know that Jesus is coming.   Perhaps lunch time has already passed.   So now it is crunch time.   We think that it is just the disciples with him but Luke 8:2 & 3 indicate that several others traveled with Jesus.   Perhaps there were 20 or more people in the party.    So now here is Jesus at a close friends house. Jesus is an honored guest and treating guests well was very important in those days.   Probably one of the first things to deal with is dirty feet.   It is not turn on the faucet but get a bucket of water.   They are probably thirsty.  For dinner you can’t just a few hot dogs and hamburgers out of the refrigerator or the freezer.  There is bread to make and that may start with gathering some sticks to heat up the oven.  And what else are you going to give them?     

     You have probably have hosted someone you respected and you worked to have everything just so.  You worked to make sure the house clean and the food ready right on time.  I remember a friend of mine that stopped at our house once and took his finger and wiped it on the lamp and it was dusty.  You try to avoid those situations.  My house is lived in and you do not have to look too hard to find some dust.

     So there is a lot of work to do and Martha sees the need.  I expect Martha is going crazy with all the details and all the work.   Martha is perhaps trying to put on a 4 course meal.   God bless her heart.  She has a heart to give and to minister.   She wants everything to be wonderful and good and she will work herself into a frenzy to make it happen.   She is behind and she needs help. We all know what that feels like.  It is tough to be crazy busy and others are just chilling out.  I really understand her feelings. She probably felt all alone in her work.    In her mind she has too much to do and too little time to do it in.   It speaks of our society today.   Martha speaks to us today.   We need Jesus to give us proper priorities.  Lord what do I really need to do today?  Of course if you have to go to work you go to work. 

    Martha becomes bitter and angry.   She feels cheated and goes to Jesus with her complaint.   Her eyes and her spirit are no longer on Jesus.   Bitterness seeps into her and consumes her thoughts and feelings.  Bitterness can sweep in when we feel cheated.  Bitterness causes disunity.   It can break a family apart.   Everybody needs to pull together.   Martha’s heart is not right.   Christians need to be careful about bitterness.

     Ephesians 4 tells us and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.   Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.    In a sense in all of her work and preparation she has neglected her honored guest Jesus.  I think she gets her eyes on the work and not on Jesus.   Do you believe it is more important what you do with Jesus or what you do for Jesus?   A lot of folks are doing things for Jesus but not with Jesus.   There are out of step with Jesus.   They are working like crazy but they are not abiding in the vine.   They are caught up with the work of the Lord but not caught up with the Lord of the work and because of that they are off balance and off center.   They are certainly not being fruitful as they could be in their ministry.   Those that are angry that they are out there all alone are not enjoying their work and they are not abiding in the vine.   I think that is where Martha is at.  She is probably feeling sorry for herself.    Ever feel that way – oh who is me.      

     Martha goes to Jesus and says tell Mary to help me!   Wow! She has no business ordering Jesus around.   How does she get off doing that?   That is not a good thing to do but lots of folks do that.    Dave Wilkerson wrote we have become selfish and self-centered in our prayers: "Give us…meet us…bless us…use us…protect us."    All this may be scriptural, but the focus remains on us.   Even our work for the Lord has become selfish.   We want him to bless our service to him, so we can know our faith is genuine.  We think we look good if our ministry is growing.  The Lord is more interested in what we are becoming in him than in what we are doing for him.  Martha is pretty self centered at this point and not centered on Jesus.  

    Kevin Jones shares some years ago I was involved with a big project for the company I was working for. I had been working on this specific task for about a week and was making great progress. The supervisor had called a special meeting one morning for all who were involved in this project.  I was so busy working that I missed the beginning of the meeting,   I figured since I was already late, I would just continue working on the task at hand.   I worked on for several hours and then the supervisor stopped by and noticed all that I had done.   I was proud of what I had accomplished and was waiting for a pat on the back.   He walked in the warehouse and said “things look really good in here, too bad you did it all for nothing, we decided yesterday to move all of this stuff to the company headquarters (which was in another town).   He then added you would have known this if you had been at the meeting this morning!”  My pat on the back turned into a kick in the gut. I was so busy working that I missed out on what my boss really wanted me to do!    It is tough to totally miss it.  

       May God bless the doers and those that serve in the church.   I am a doer but I need to withdraw and sit at the master’s feet.   If we are not abiding in the vine – Jesus our serving will not have lasting and eternal fruit.   We need to sit at Jesus feet and listen to his word.   We need to hear his voice and be in step with Him.   Jesus affirms Mary who is sitting at his feet and Jesus will affirm you as you sit at His feet.   Jesus will bless you and minister to you as you sit at his feet and learn of Him.  Do you want to be successful sit at Jesus feet?   Do you want to be affirmed?   Sit at Jesus feet.  Do you want to be successful?   Spend some time at Jesus feet.   

      Let’s consider Mary.   Mary has a different take on things.   Mary is there for the worship.  Have you ever taken a day to spend with the Lord?   That is just so wonderful.   It is a huge blessing.  Mary was into enjoying the presence of the Lord.   What was the real food that is being served?    Is it meat and potatoes or is it the wonderful words of God?   The real deal is Jesus the real meal is Jesus.   Jesus told the disciples I have food to eat that you do not know about.   There are times to eat physical food but there are times to gorge ourselves spiritually.   Have you ever gorged yourself spiritually?   Mary is feasting at the heavenly table.  God still speaks today friends.   Jesus is the feast.   Do you see the word of God or the sermon as the feast or do you see the Sunday dinner meal as the feast?     

     Mary of Bethany is 3 times at Jesus feet.   Verse 39 in this passage tells us that Mary is at his feet listening to his word.      In John 11 when Lazarus dies and death is involved she falls at Jesus feet and at John 12 Mary anoints Jesus feet with very expensive perfume and wipes His feet with her hair as an act of love and worship.   Mary is at Jesus feet it seems all the time that she is mentioned in scripture.   I would say that is a good place to be.   Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus today?   Do you love him to the point that you are anointing his feet with perfume and wiping his feet with your hair?   Mary is into worship and into relationship with Jesus.  She is into listening to his word.    You have to love that about her.   The world and the enemy will fight us when we spend time with Jesus.  

     We need the balance of serving and worship and worship comes first.   Worship is the most important.   The relationship with Jesus comes first and it the most important and I think we are far more apt to be like Martha and serving than listening, worshipping and being at Jesus feet.     Do you identify more with Mary or Martha today?      I think there are many more Martha’s than Mary types.    

    People with serious problems are usually not sitting at Jesus feet and listening to his word.   Warren Wiersbe writes that he has asked people with serious problems how their devotional life is and usually they respond I quit praying a long time ago and they drop their head.    Christians that put God first may have trouble and difficulty but they handle it because they get strength from God every day.   They sit at Jesus feet and it makes all the difference in the world.  

     Some of us get so used to the adrenaline rush of handling crises that we become dependent on it for a sense of excitement and energy.   How does urgency feel? Stressful? Pressured? Tense? Exhausting? Sure.   But let’s be honest.  It’s also sometimes exhilarating.  We feel useful.  We feel successful. We feel validated.  And we get good at it. Whenever there’s trouble, we ride into town, pull out the six shooter, do the varmint in, blow the smoke off the gun barrel, and ride into the sunset like a hero. It brings instant results and instant gratification.       We get a temporary high from solving urgent and important crises. Then when the importance isn’t there, the urgency fix is so powerful we are drawn to do anything urgent, just to stay in motion. People expect us to be busy, overworked.  It’s become a status symbol in our society - if we’re busy, we’re important; if we’re not busy, we’re almost embarrassed to admit it.  Busyness is where we get our security."   Stephen Covey, First Things First

 

    Is there joy sitting at Jesus feet?   Is there peace sitting at Jesus feet?   Is their fulfillment when we sit at Jesus feet?  Is there forgiveness and acceptance at Jesus feet?   Is it OK not to serve people sometimes to sit at Jesus feet?   Is it OK to miss a meal to sit at Jesus feet?   What is Jesus telling us in this story?   What is Jesus saying to you and what are we going to do?