A. The Martha Syndrome: Pursuit of a better life
1. Many of us identify with Martha: empathy for her
- She had a houseful of people
- She was trying to be a good hostess
- There is a lot of work to be done, why couldnt Mary help?
2. This is not just a story about hospitality
- Verse 40 says, Martha was distracted by all of her preparations
- Distracted means to drag from or around, cumbered; used here as being overly-occupied about a thing
- Verse 41: Jesus says Martha you are worried and bothered by so many things
- That statement puts the story into another level: its not just the preparations, the demands of the moment
- Many things is a word used to describe a great number, beyond a few
- Worried means to be anxious about; to have a distracting care
- Bothered means to stir up, disturb, trouble
3. This is a story about Lordship: who determines the course of your life: you or God.
- The old way: We work for His blessing of a better life.
- The new way: We enter into His presence through Jesus to produce eternal fruit.
4. Martha syndrome: The pursuit of what we define as a better life.
- Making sandwiches Jesus didnt order.
- Ive always wondered what Marthas response was:
a. Did she stomp off to the kitchen and start banging pots
b. Did she sit down next to Mary mumbling, Ok, when you want lunch you can get it yourself
c. Did she fall at Jesus feet, humble and repentant, truly desiring to rest in the presence of Jesus?
- What is our response? Will we continue to pursue a better life as we define it or will we embrace a better hope to draw near to God?
B. The troubles and anxieties of the world challenge all of us.
1. Martha revealed the condition of her heart; anyone who is worried and bothered by many things will respond the same way:
- Lord dont You care? When things arent going our way the first thing we question is Gods love for us.
- My sister has left me to do all the work: Condemning others by rehearsing our complaints before the Lord.
- Tell her: Getting God to fix others and solve our problems with them.
- Assumption: God agrees with us
2. When we view people as a barrier its time for a heart check.
C. Are you a Mary or a Martha?
1. Setting aside the old way, bringing in the new way (Heb 7:18ff).
2. Old way: Were still in control; we determine what life we want; we work the principles and promises to obtain it; when things go wrong, we ask: What did I do wrong? How could God let this happen? This stuff doesnt work.
- We run the risk of making sandwiches Jesus didnt order.
- Matthew 16:23: Jesus rebukes Peter for old way thinking, Get behind me Satan
for you are not setting your mind on Gods interests, but mans.
3. New way: A better hope to draw near to Him.
- Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me all who are weary
and I will give you rest.
- John 15:5 Abide in Jesus you will bear much fruit; apart from Him you can do nothing.
- John 15:15: I no longer call you servants but friends.
- John 5:19: Jesus only does what He sees the Father doing.
D. The Better Part: Only one thing is necessary
1. Seeking the presence of God just to enjoy being with Him.
- A desire to know Him more intimately (Eph 1:17)
- Picture: sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His voice.
2. If you cant get into His presence where you are, go where His presence is manifest.
- Prayer service, worship services, Holy Spirit baptism services, water baptism service, etc.
3. No formula, just a sincere desire for Gods presence and the willingness to make the time a priority.