Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 27, September 21, 2008
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 27, September 21, 2008
Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore to help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Lets look into this a bit.
Martha is not faulted for her service. Many feel a secret sympathy for Martha. I mean, Martha welcomes Jesus and his disciples into her home. Martha gave the invitation of hospitality knowing full well it would mean work.
Being hospitable is hard work. But she seemed ok with it.
Let’s be honest, if not for the Martha's of this world, not much would get done. Interestingly this story comes right after the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Now why would that be? Wasn’t Martha being a neighbor to Jesus and the Disciples? Jesus doesn’t fault Martha for her service. I believe what he does pick up on is her attitude.
The “Resentful Good Samaritan”.
Good service with a bad spirit is bad service.
Jesus finds a problem with the spirit of her service.
That Martha was irritated is an understatement. Her outburst ruins the party for her, for Mary, and for their special company.
Martha was like many type “A” personalities; she may have thought, “Someone’s got to do it and well, I’ll do it if there is no one else. It has to be done - one way or the other.”Martha must have been shocked when Jesus cut across her huffing and puffing and corrected her attitude.
Jesus said, Mary had chosen the better part. Think about that.
It seems ministry to our spirit must precede ministry to others. In effect he said to Martha - Don’t just do something - sit there! Learn from me, let me serve your soul.Service motivated and energized by God’s Spirit and done with the right attitude will last and bring glory to God.
I believe there are times when God says, "Don't just do something, sit there." There are times God wants us to be quiet, to be still and seek Him.
Am I seeing this right? You don’t tell people just to sit there!
Most churches have enough pew sitters, some having sat for years. Most organizations struggle to get people to volunteer.
Rather than telling people to sit there they are running around trying to find people to fill the gaps. Sometimes the methods they use manipulate us through guilt.
Service because of guilt causes burn out and all too often, bitterness.
We are a family, a new community that is meant to model in our life the purposes of God.
This is meant to be a healthy incubator for people to grow in Christ and die to God’s glory. So there are times when we have to say to each other —“Don’t just Do something - Sit there!” Refresh. Renew. Receive.God must do something in us before we do something for Him.
Take the example of Nehemiah. He was involved in the most radical and successful building project Israel had ever seen. For 90 years they had tried to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and had failed. Then along came Nehemiah and in 90 days, walking in God’s will, they had the job virtually completed.But what is often missed in the account of Nehemiah is before he was engaged in exhausting activity he sat still. He prayed and sought the Lord. First, he allowed God to do something in him. While he was waiting he developed a plan and was ready for action.
Often we tend to develop a plan, then ask God to bless it and head off on our merry way. To this Jesus says, “Don’t just do something - sit there.” Seek Me, think it through, plan carefully and consider the options.Let the Lord do something in you before you do something for Him. Then you’ll maintain your vision and your passion for the task. You’ll have the fortitude and stick ability to see it through.
You will have the conviction that this is God’s will and although there may be obstacles, you’ll see it through.
Some years ago a young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. "That depends," replied the foreman. "Let's see you fell this tree." The young man stepped forward and skilfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, "Start Monday!" Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, "You can pick up your pay cheque on the way out today." Startled, he replied, "I thought you paid on Friday." "Normally we do," answered the foreman, "but we're letting you go today because you've fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you've dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday." "But I'm a hard worker," the young man objected. "I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!"
The foreman, sensing the boy's integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, "Have you been sharpening your axe?"
The young man replied, "I've been working too hard to take the time."
How often do we work harder and harder spiritually only to find we are less and less fruitful.
It time to hear the words, “Don’t just do something. Sit there and let the Lord minister to you.”
Sharpen your axe. Sharpen yourself spiritually; rekindle that edge, renew your strength.
Please note, there is certainly a time and place for diving in with both feet, for taking on whatever task is in front of us.
We continue to appreciate firefighters who storm headlong into buildings, rescue workers who dive into raging waters, trained military who without thinking about it, answer the call.
Many of us have a voice in our heads screaming at us, "Don't just stand there, do something." But we who care about caring for others can lose more than ourselves in “our doing”, we can lose the ability to give ourselves away for the necessary long haul, for a world of pain and need beyond today’s headlines.
Friends when the rescue workers go home, when the funeral flowers fade, when the get well-visits get missed in the third round of chemo, some of us will still be called to be there.
The daily grind of caring takes its toll. If you find yourself pulling away from the needs of people. If you shut off the TV news, if you let the answering machine pick up phone calls from a friend, let me suggest that you find some stillness, even solitude.
"Don't just do something, stand there."
Pause to listen and pause to feel. Pause to pray and take stock of yourself and your resources. Do only what really needs doing.
In our much doing, we lose perspective, lose our energy, and more importantly, lose our creativity and sense of humor.
We thus begin to carry the world on our shoulders and soon become overwhelmed or disillusioned. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
We after being renewed spiritually can again enter our world to “do it right”.