Paying Attention to What is Important – The Story of Mary and Martha

Paying Attention to What is Important – The Story of Mary and Martha

[Music] hi there i’m pastor rod fair of north douglas church here in victoria british columbia and it’s my delight to be able to share with you today this message about the story of mary and martha and how they interacted with jesus this sermon is called paying attention to what is important and we’re going to talk about how the distractions of our life really take away from us pursuing the kingdom of god i want to help you and myself and our whole church be able to understand what it means to pursue god’s kingdom as a first priority in our life this is part 8 in our summer series all about jesus and i thank you for being with us today if you have missed some of these messages and want to be able to go back and review some of what we’ve taught about jesus throughout the summer or maybe you want to pass it on to a friend or a family member then go to north douglaschurch.com or you can also find these messages on our youtube channel facebook page or you can find them on podcast as well if you are looking for prayer please send an email to prayer at north douglaschurch.com and i’ll pass that request along to our prayer team and we’ll pray for your need and and be able to respond and interact together today we’re talking about paying attention to what is important and you know it is understandable that paying attention to the important things is really hard the truth is every manager every student every parent every worker has a task list that can include some very very important things but ultimately sometimes those tasks take away from our interaction and time with god in fact we have to decide what to do and what is most important every single day we make these decisions and and we make the choice about what we’re going to do next what’s the priority in our life and there are times of course when we have these emergencies pop up and emergencies are really they are they suck so much time out of our life because sometimes the emergencies that some people say are really crucial are actually not really that important after all but emergencies do happen and they can take away from our spiritual life because there are times when we want to be able to spend uh time relating to god talking to god learning from the scriptures about things but then things are screaming for our attention there’s kids that must be to places there is trouble at work there are car repairs there’s money problems and there’s all these things that are saying you must pay attention to this right away and in truth uh we can get sidetracked from uh just being able to pursue our relationship with god so what are the things that are important but what are the things that are most important we can pay attention to those as priorities in our life and it will help our spiritual life and interaction with god so where does god stand in the life of most of us that are so busy we have this busyness that’s happening in our life we got things to go to meetings that we need to attend family that we need to care for where does god come in all the midst of that so the truth is we can work harder at trying to avoid temptation or making the right decisions to do good and unless we spend time praying talking to god we spend time learning and absorbing the character of god the truth is there’s going to be very little fruit for all of our efforts somewhere along the line we’re going to fall short because we just can’t do this in our own strength we work harder at all kinds of religious study and we can put things in our brain but unless we’re willing to make the choices to actually do the things that we’re learning then where will the fruit come from so god is calling us to pay attention to eternal things things that matter things that matter most and this is where the story of jesus interacting with mary and martha comes along and can help us in the book of luke luke describes this interaction with mary and martha and how jesus looks at their life and the priorities that they’re making now mary and martha and their brother lazarus were all supporters of jesus they were friends and this early account is an instance when they were just really coming to know and jesus they were coming to know jesus and he was staying at their home luke chapter 10 starting at verse 38 it says this as jesus and the disciples continued on their way to jerusalem they came to a certain village where a woman named martha welcomed him into her home her sister mary sat at the lord’s feet listening to what he taught 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 but the lord said to her my dear martha you are worried and upset over all these details there is only one thing worth being concerned about mary has discovered it and it will not be taken away from her you see martha’s life was focused on what she prioritized the dinner that was happening the guests in her home she wanted to make a good impression and so she was distracted from the most important things by the things that she considered important whereas mary was concerned with what she was sitting at jesus feet listening to what he was teaching she was paying attention to jesus and that was her biggest priority she wanted to hear what jesus had to say she wanted to know jesus better now i’m sure that in the home like most people that our sisters living together mary would have done dishes and cleaning and cooking and all of the different tasks but in that moment she decided that she needed to pay attention to jesus that that was the priority and of course martha was busy doing all of these things now we can look at this story and say well of course we all want to be married we all want to make that right decision but really think about the situation if there are no marthas in the world to pay attention to the details of making supper and making things happen well will any work get done but at the same time if we’re not like mary and pay attention to the most important things will we ever get to know jesus any better and so this is a real conundrum for so many people is how do we balance this how do we balance the attitude of martha and and the attitude of mary what are we going to do to that so the main point of the message is this as followers of christ we need to learn to listen to god so that we understand the will of god and practice the ways of god you see much of our lives are spent doing our own thing and that is we decide what’s important and then we go about doing it the way that we want to accomplish or face the issues of our life the kingdom of god has a very different priority you see the kingdom of god is about what is god’s will and about doing it in a process that is god’s way and so the most important thing is accomplishing the will of god this was the life of jesus like he wanted to do his father’s will and in the midst of this dinner party that he was having with mary and martha and other people were probably there jesus said that mary had chosen the best thing that’s the thing that she needed to be concerned about that she was learning about the will of god and mary was very busy but was she really doing the things that were the most important you know jesus was teaching about worry and really when we look at martha’s character she was worried about the details about getting it all done for all of these people making a good impression in the sermon on the mount jesus is teaching about worry and he exposes the priorities of our lives in his teaching he was teaching the people to connect with god and in the midst of matthew chapter 6 he says this starting at verse 30 and if god cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow he will certainly care for you why do you have so little faith so don’t worry about these things saying what will we eat what will we drink what will we wear these things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers but your heavenly father already knows all your needs seek the kingdom of god above all else and live righteously and he will give you everything you need so don’t worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will bring its own worries today’s trouble is enough for today you see faith faith in god is is the solution to worry jesus said that we need to trust god he knows everything that we need what it means to care for all the circumstances and details of our life and then he challenges his listeners he challenges the people said seek first the kingdom of god you need to pay attention to this as a priority we’d say wow how do we go about that how how do we actually accomplish this seeking and pursuing of god’s kingdom of god’s um values how do we do that in in reality you know and so today i wanted to just talk to you about two things in which we can define about how we go about seeking the kingdom of god and the first one is this that we need to look for god’s will we need to be pursuing god’s will we need to understand what it is when we’re talking about seeking the kingdom of god it’s important to know well what does god really value what is the things that god wants to see happen that is the will of god and when we can understand the will of god then we can be able to move forward in our life we’ll know that we’re seeking the lord and the things that he most wants you know there’s no possible way without doing this without spending time with god romans chapter 12 verse 2 it says don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world but let god transform you into a new person by changing the way you think then you will learn to know god’s will for you which is good and pleasing and perfect you know copying the behavior of the world is exactly what most of us do i mean we look around us and and we we do the things that everybody else is doing we pursue the things that everybody else is pursuing you know why are some parents so tired you know we get complaints all the time from parents say oh i’m just so worn out and yet they have their child in three or four extracurricular activities outside of school outside of family and so a parent is driving them to swimming and to dance and to soccer and a few other things like music lessons and you’re going well no wonder you’re so tired all you’re doing is driving your you’re the chauffeur you’ve forgot to be a family you forgot to be a parent and so when do you actually have any time in the midst of all that activity to actually spend time with god asking him what his will is and the truth is if you have more than one child if you have two or three children and you’re that busy with all of them your life is a constant jungle of schedule i mean it’s a it’s really schedule suicide and yet people do this because they’re expecting to give their kid every opportunity but they’re not providing opportunity for themselves to really know what god’s will is the most an important priority of all and so i’m telling you that we can’t be just like the world we have to change the way that we think think about some adults that are pursuing just a constant amount of money well they they need more money and so they try and think up extra jobs or how can they make something to sell something so they can raise this extra money because after all they’ve got to pay for the cable tv bill they’ve got to pay for the new car payment they’ve got a vacation that they really want to take and are planning for they a new fall wardrobe is you know in the making you know it’s a plan for the future and of course they want that most fancy coffee maker that they can possibly buy and pretty soon in pursuing all of these things to make more money to buy more things we go well who’s consuming what like that the whole attitude of getting more money then consumes your life takes over your time schedule you haven’t got any time for family or friends or kids or grandkids and pretty soon all you’re doing is is serving your stuff or your stuff is controlling you and where does god fall in all of that do you have any time left and actually to listen to god to listen to the holy spirit know what god’s will is what he really thinks about all of the things that that you’re pursuing and so if we want to seek first the kingdom of god we need to act like god is the priority that is we need to spend time asking god himself what are the things that you want because in god’s kingdom the things that he wants are most important he is the king after all and so we need to come to him and say god i’m spending these moments in prayer so that i can understand your will god i want your will to be done so can you please help me to understand what it is we need to spend time in god’s word and we need to spend time listening to the spirit and so we should really do this every day we need to pause and have moments where we can interact and connect with god you know john eldridge has written a book called get your life back and in that book he he is a proponent of a spiritual discipline an idea in which he calls the one minute pause and in this uh one minute pause he he says people should practice just taking time throughout the day to pause literally for one minute and just focus on god to to breathe and to pray and to release their life back to god and and this enables people to stay on track to connect with god throughout their day now he’s even created an app for this that you can put on your phone that will remind you at certain times or maybe when you feel the most stress you can put this on it’ll literally give you one minute in order to connect with god you know whatever it takes to be able to draw attention to a time that we can spend with god seeking his will if we really really want to prioritize the things that are most important in our life then we need to spend time with jesus just like mary did i mean that’s why jesus praised mary and was she doing anything too profound except for spending time with jesus well once you know the will of god that’s a crucial and important piece of god’s kingdom and seeking god’s kingdom but there is another important piece and that is doing things god’s way that we can know the will of god but are we going to actually do it god’s way and this is where a lot of people find serving god so hard they have an idea of what god’s will is or maybe they’ve taken a scripture or a piece of the bible that they know is the will of god for them and then they decide that they’re going to do it their way that they’re not going to wait for god to tell them what to do they’re just going to barge right in there and live their life and do what they think is best you know often that gets us into a lot of trouble because we’re going to be resisting the holy spirit and the leading of god in the midst of what he wants to see happen god wants his will to be done his way and that’s what pursuing the kingdom of god it really is all about and so although it’s hard for people to seek god for the pathway of how we should behave the actions we should do the way we should approach people the truth is we need to do things god’s way john chapter 15 jesus says to his disciples yes i am the vine you are the branches those who remain in me and i in them will produce much fruit for apart from me you can do nothing so important that we would focus on jesus be connected with jesus because all of our efforts are gonna come to nothing if we’re not doing it with jesus we’re not connected we’re not plugged in and then only then when we’re connected will we be able to bear much fruit that is we’ll produce a fruitfulness in our life in galatians chapter 5 paul wrote to the church and said this about the fruit of following the spirit but the holy spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives love joy peace patience kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness and self-control there is no law against these things those who belong to christ jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there since we are living by the spirit let us follow the spirits leading in every part of our lives you know we’re going to know the way of god by the values of god that is there is a benefit and a result when people behave in a certain way or when they act upon the values of god so when we look at our world we see all kinds of results that come from various actions take greed for example if you look at the results of greedy people you’ll see that greed is not god’s way it produces all kinds of hurt and all kinds of of failure especially relationship failure when greed comes into a family or into a business but you look at the opposite you say well what is god’s value when it comes to things about money or things well god’s value is generosity and giving to those that are in need if you think about the value of generosity and how it overflows from god’s character you say okay that has great benefit to people and even to the giver there is spiritual value that flows out of that so which way is the way of god well you can see that by the value and the result of it that the way of god is through generosity not greed take the value of justice for example we see there’s a number of people that are very passionate about justice well is that something that as a christian that follower of jesus we should be pursuing it actually is why because god is a god of justice and so those that would stand up for the downtrodden those that would help the poor i mean they are demonstrating a characteristic and a value of god and so when they stand up for the poor they are actually doing something in the way that god wants them to do is the path that they should pursue now there are of course places and times and all kinds of details about doing those things and we need to depend on the spirit of god to lead us in that and that’s why paul says we shouldn’t walk we should walk in the way of the spirit so we need to really listen to the spirit of god in order to pursue the way of god and so as i come to the end of this message i want to remind you that mary and martha the story of interacting with jesus they are telling us uh some things about priority about what is important in god’s kingdom mary was concerned about a lot of temporal things things that you know the dinner was going to be eaten and the dishes were going to be washed and would all be over but mary was at jesus feet trying to learn trying to pay attention and have a relationship and something that was going to last much much longer was going to help her in her entire life and so make sure we understand what is really important and dedicate our time there let me tell you this story some years ago there was a man that was looking for work he was a young man and he approached a logging crew and went to the foreman and said you know i would really like a job cutting down trees for you can i have a job the foreman looked at him and went alright well show me what you can do there’s a big tree right here i want to see you chop it down and so this young man took his axe and very skillfully he fell that tree and the foreman looked at him and said okay you’ve proved you can do it you start on monday monday came and the young man worked hard at this job on this logging crew tuesday came and he worked hard log and crew wednesday came he worked very hard in that logging crew but at the end of the day the foreman came up to the young man and said well you know the office is over there we’re done this day you can go and collect your check the young man was shocked going what i’m being dismissed and he said i don’t understand i i’ve worked really hard and i’ve done everything you’ve asked me to do the foreman said listen on monday you were at the very top of the crew you were working so hard and you were the most productive person here on tuesday you started to fall behind and by today on wednesday here you would actually fall into the least productive uh part of the crew and i just can’t have that going forward the young man said but i worked so hard i was working as hard as ever the foreman looked at him and just thought for a moment and realized that the man the young man was a man of integrity and was telling the truth and he sat down and he said listen have you actually taken time to sharpen your axe while you’ve been working and the young man said no i’ve been working so hard i’ve done all of these things i haven’t actually sharpened my axe and the foreman said you need to go and sharpen your axe well ultimately we all do we all need to pay attention to the most important things and sometimes we think those little things that help us be productive and effective in our life especially our spiritual life that they’re too small to pay attention to but truthfully if we don’t sharpen our spiritual acts how are we going to be productive for god how are we going to be able to pursue the priorities of the kingdom of heaven so we need to spend time with jesus we need to know what the will of god is and then we need to spend time seeking the path of the spirit and listening to the guidance of god so that we can do it his way god’s way is important god’s will is important so let’s pursue these things pursuing the kingdom of god that we could do that which is right and pay attention to that which is most important let me pray for you today father god we want to thank you that you help us and that you are constantly encouraging us to pay attention to that which is most important the eternal things and as you encourage us to seek first the kingdom of god god there’s a lot of things that get in our way they get distractions that come in and we pray that you would give us clarity about choosing the things that are most important and so we ask for your help god help us to spend the time seeking your will help us to know the path to do it your way we pray this in jesus name amen thank you for spending this time with me and i hope that you enjoyed this teaching if you have any questions again send them to prayer at northdouglaschurch.com i’d love to respond and just interact with you have a great day [Music] you
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Paying Attention to What is Important - The Story of Mary and Martha

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