Meals with Jesus: At Mary and Martha’s – Luke 10:38-42

13 Aug 2023

Meals with Jesus: At Mary and Martha’s – Luke 10:38-42

Passage Luke 10:38-42

Speaker Ben Tanner

Series Meals With Jesus


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

The reading today is taken from St. Luke, chapter ten, verses 38 to 42. As Jesus and his disciples were on their way he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

She came to him and asked, Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. Martha. Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things but few things are needed. Or indeed, only one.

Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her. This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God. Thank you so much, Celia, for reading that for us. I'm just going to ask God for his help as we think about that passage a little bit.

Father God, thank you so much that so often your word is quite simple to understand. But, Father, we know. We know. It's simple to understand, but hard to do. And so I pray that by your spirit you would help us to go out of this place a little bit more like Mary.

Amen. Amen. Fantastic. Let me ask you a question. What do a tax collector, a woman who was rejected by society and over 5000 people all have in common?

They all had meals with Jesus. And that's why we're going over the summer, we're thinking about different people in the book of Luke who had meals with Jesus. And today we're seeing that once again. Jesus, he ate with people who aren't perfect. People who are sinners.

Like me and like you. He welcomed people that society pushed away. He ate with people like us. And today we're going to see that Jesus wants us to listen to him. He wants us to listen to him.

So in today's Bible story, we visit the home of two sisters. And these sisters are called Mary and Martha. Now, imagine if Jesus was coming to your house. What would you do? Maybe you'd tidy your toys away.

Maybe you would make sure that the dinner plates from last night were actually washed up. Maybe you'd run the hoover around a little bit. Well, these two ladies are getting ready for Jesus to come to their house, tidying up, looking around, getting everything sorted. And when Jesus arrived, the two ladies well, they acted slightly differently to one another.

You see, one sister Mary dropped everything that she was doing and she came and she sat down at Jesus feet, so close, in fact, that she was almost sitting on his toes.

There she was as Jesus was teaching about the kingdom of God, teaching all about who he was and what he was doing. Meanwhile, Martha, the other sister, carried on getting everything ready for the meal, and she was rushing around, and she wasn't all that happy about Mary not helping out. So she made a bit more clattering in the kitchen.

She evidently wanted Mary's attention, but Mary just listened to Jesus. If Jesus was speaking, Mary was listening.

Until eventually Martha couldn't take it anymore. Jesus, Jesus, don't you care that I'm doing all of this, all of this preparation by myself? Tell Mary to come and help me. Martha. Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed.

Indeed, only one. Mary has chosen what is better. And that Jesus said the one thing that Mary needed, she was doing. She was listening to him. Jesus wants us to listen to him.

He saw Mary listening to him and he wanted Martha to listen to him. You see, there are lots of important things that we do, aren't there? There are lots of things that might distract us, but the most important thing is listening to Jesus. Thank you, my actors, for being wonderful actors at Dtechc. Yeah, let's give them a round of applause.

Fantastic. So, children, we've been thinking there, haven't we, that the most important thing is listening to Jesus. The most important thing we can do is listen to Jesus. So don't get distracted. What might that look like?

Maybe it's family Bible time and you're sitting down over tea and you really want to watch Pokemon. Now, Pokemon's great. It's wonderful. It's a fab story. It's surprisingly good, actually, grown ups.

And it's a great story. But what happens when you get to the end of it? You want another episode, don't you? And another episode. And another episode.

You see, Pokemon's great, but it can never satisfy. Remember what we heard last week? Jesus gives us everything we need. Or maybe you're a bit older and maybe you look at your day and you think, do you know what? I have got so many assignments.

I have so much homework to do. How am I going to possibly spend any time listening to Jesus today? And homework is very important. Some of your parents are breathing a sigh of relief. It is important, isn't it?

You learn all about this world around you. It's vitally important. But in the Bible, listening to Jesus, we hear from the one who made the world, who understands it better than anybody or anything else.

Listen to Jesus. It's more important. Grown ups and teenagers, often I find the bits of the Bible that I find are hardest. They're not the ones that I don't really understand. They're the ones that I really understand and struggle with.

Listen to Jesus and don't be distracted. Do you know how many times writing this sermon I was distracted? Why is it that whenever you open up your Bible to read it, ten things come into your mind that you needed to do? It's the case all the time, isn't it? Perhaps it's even harder in that our world has become increasingly fast paced, hasn't it?

Everything's got faster, whether it's technology, getting faster, getting the latest phone, or whether it's work or travel, or what we eat, or how we consume media and television programmes. Psychologists have started calling our society a society that's got hurry sickness. We hurry around doing everything. We are a society of marthas.

John Mark Comer has written a great book called the Ruthless elimination of Hurry. It's deeply challenging and very much worth a read. But he says, there's a problem with this. You see, hurry and love are incompatible. Hurry kills relationships.

He says, love takes time. Hurry doesn't have it. It kills joy, gratitude, appreciation. People in a rush don't have time to enter the goodness of the moment. It kills wisdom.

Wisdom is built in the is born in the quiet and the slow. Wisdom has its own pace. It makes you wait for it. Hurry kills all that we hold dear. Spirituality, health, marriage, family, thoughtful work, creativity, generosity.

Name your value. Hurry is a sociopathic predator on the loose in our society. Hurry and fruitful relationships with others are incompatible, let alone hurry and a fruitful relationship with God. See, we're Martha's, aren't we? And it's so easy to be, isn't it?

Because actually, our society, it calls us to hurry. It says, you need to hurry. You need to be ready to respond to that email straight away to that news thing straight away.

If you were born after the era of the twin Towers, then one social commentator says, you have lived not just in a climate crisis, we have lived in a climate. We're still in a climate crisis, aren't we? But he says, you're also in a crisis climate. In other words, that our worlds, with its 24/7 news and the little things that pop up on your phone, they keep saying to you, you need to be ready to respond, you need to be there, because we're in a crisis state of crisis all the time. The commentator went on, he said, so it is.

It's the climate, it's democracy, it's the pandemic, it's handmaid's tale. It's Russia, it's the Ukraine, it's high school shootings, it's radical left, it's the alt right. Everything is set to collapse. That's what we're being told all the time. And it's one thing to live on a knife edge for a while.

It's another thing entirely to live on a knife edge all of the time. How do we live with that tension? Always access to news, always needing to respond, always, always anxious about the sky falling. What do we do with that tension to those very real dangers? Jesus looks at us.

Living in 21st century Britain looks at you and he says, martha, Martha, you're worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what's better, and it will not be taken from her.

The call today is to be like Mary, to listen to Jesus. Jesus, the one who says, I can do something about the world that feels so broken. I have done something about the world that feels so broken. I can do something about the demands that are there on your life. Come to me, cast your burdens on me.

For I am gentle of heart, gentle and lowly. Jesus, who says my word is the thing that upholds the world. So don't get distracted. Listen to Jesus.

Be a bit more like Mary. Let's pray together, shall we? Dear God, I know because I've been really convicted of it this week, that I am like a Martha, running around telling people to be Marys father. I know how easy it is to get distracted from listening to you. Please help me and please help us in a world full of all sorts of distractions, to sit at Jesus feet, to be like Mary when Jesus speaks.

Mary's listening. When you speak, would we be listening? Help us to do that, I pray. Amen. We're going to sing a song about how we hear Jesus speak.

It's a song all about the Bible and it's got some actions.