A Time to Serve and a Time to Sit
Luke 10:38-42 (NLT) 38 As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. 39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” 41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Overview of the Passage
Notice that Luke says “Martha welcomed them into her home…”
Their culture demanded that when you have guests in your home,
you must feed them.
Martha couldn’t order in pizza.
She had to heat up the mud brick oven.
She had to mix up the ingredients for the bread.
She has more to do than she can handle and she goes and finds
her sister just sitting.
- In my mind I see her standing near a doorway trying to get
But Mary’s attention is fixed on Jesus.
So Martha addresses Jesus like a child would address a
parent to make their sibling help with a chore.
Jesus corrects Martha and commends Mary.
Don’t you wish Luke would have told us what happened
- How did Martha react?
1) Did she say, “Oh, I see.” And sit down and listen?
2) Did she walk away angry?
3) Did she spend a lot of time ruminating on what
What do we know?
The house of Martha and Mary became a place where Jesus
Jesus’ greatest miracle took place there.
It was Jesus’ last stop before going to Jerusalem where he would
Am I more like Mary or Martha?
Martha is task oriented.
Where there is a job to be done, she can’t rest until it
- She likes to have fun (worship) but not when her “to do”
list is staring her in the face.
- If she knows company is coming, she will spend the day
getting her house spotless.
Mary wants to enjoy life.
Her “to do” list piece of paper gets lost as she enjoys life.
She isn’t lazy but she isn’t going to let tasks rob her of
the spontaneous moments that make life enjoyable.
- If a friend “pops in” she isn’t alarmed by her unkempt
- If you had to say you were more like Mary or Martha, how many
would say Mary and how many Martha?
II. Breaking it Down
What we cannot conclude.
Mary is more spiritual than Martha.
Martha is a harder worker than Mary.
What we can conclude.
Martha can learn from Mary and Mary can learn from Martha.
Worship does not take the place of work but it does take
priority over work.
Let me repeat that:
Jesus is our example—A perfect combination of Mary/Martha
Jesus started his ministry with 40 days of prayer and fasting.
Jesus sustained his ministry with prayer.
The healings, miracles and deliverance in Jesus’ ministry
flowed out of a life of prayer.
Luke 6:12 (NIV) 12 One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Mark 1:35 (NIV) 35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
- To do the ministry work he was sent to do, he had to spend time
in the presence of his Father.
- But Jesus was at all times WORKING!
John 5:16-17 (NIV) 16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17 Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
John 9:4 (NIV) 4 As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
III. Cultural Challenges to Pursuing God
The Hectic Pace
We don’t do as much work as our grandparents did but life
is certainly more hectic.
- Television has gone from three channels that went off the air
air at midnight to hundreds that are 24 hours a day.
- Then there is the internet, cell phones, games, etc. that fills
The Microwave Mentality
What takes more than one hour in a regular oven takes five
minutes in a microwave.
- To have fried chicken at grandma’s house took most of a day
and today we drive in, place our order and have it in five minutes.
- The day is also gone when Sunday was only for worship and
- Most who attend church regularly expect to spend 60 minutes
to be inspired, informed, challenged and recharged.
- FYI: It takes the same amount of time and effort to be spiritually
recharged today as it did in the days of the disciples.
The Post-Christian Era in America
The prevailing spirit in our land is not favorable to those who
profess faith in a savior who declared he is the Way, the Truth
and the Life—and that no one can come to the father another way.
- In my lifetime we have gone from prayer and Bible reading being
a part of public school to teachers and coaches risking their jobs
if they dare lead students in prayer.
BTW: This is not about cursing the darkness or presenting gloom and doom. It is about recognizing the challenges and making wise decisions and taking advantage of the time we do have in corporate worship experiences.
IV. Taking Advantage of What is Available
A House where Jesus can Visit
In our story we read that they came into “Martha’s House.”
Martha had worked and provided a home for her family
where Jesus could come to rest and teach.
- Wherever you see a house of worship, someone has worked
and provided the funds to build and maintain it.
We celebrate every person that comes into this church.
We thank God for all the lives that have been and are
being changed in this house.
- But none of that happens without the Martha’s that give
faithfully to keep the ministries flourishing.
- The more of the ministries and worship experiences you
participate in, the healthier you will be.
Opportunities to Serve and Grow