I read this on the Shepherd's Hill website in my links. This Brother in the Lord writes a message every week and posts it. I read them weekly but this one really hit home for me.
Doing the Wrong Right Thing
Paul Burrell, Shepherd's Hill
Welcome to the Homechurch message for this week. On Sunday February 1st we have an event for the very first time. We are going to attempt to have some of the families join in with us with webcams and participate in the service along with the local families that already come to our house. For now, it is experimental to see how it works. In the future we might possibly make a regular habit of it. We will be contacting a few families for a test to see if we can video conference on Sunday February 3rd.
Continue praying for one another and keep us in your prayers. This week I am looking at a certain story in the Gospels. It is the story of Mary and Martha; two sisters who had the privilege of providing hospitality to Jesus and actually having Him in their home. What a marvelous thing to have happen! As I write, we are about to host a young couple in our home for a few days. They have been on the mission field in Korea and are passing through our area. Our family is busy getting things cleaned up and presentable for these honored guests. But how much would we do for Jesus? What steps would we all go through to get our houses in order if Jesus was coming to visit? Let’s look at the story in Luke 10 and see what the Spirit has to teach us.
Verse 38 begins recording the event as Martha welcomes Jesus into her house. In the next verse we meet Mary, who was Martha’s sister. It states that she “also” sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word. This tells us that Martha did learn from the Master as well as Mary. But, there is a difference between these two sisters as there is in most siblings. Isn’t it interesting at the way a group of brothers and sisters are so diverse? My own siblings, three brothers and two sisters, are completely different from each other and with me. The six of us are as varied as snowflakes. My own six children are unalike as well. God makes all of us with different personalities. A few weeks ago after the local meeting we talked about different personality types and how some were outgoing and some were introverted.
As we went around the room we found that some of us were in the same type of personality group, as we saw life through our own, distinct glasses. After listening to all of the discussion I thought about the positive side of certain types of people but then saw the negative ones, too. I realized that we all had things that we could boast about. We also all have personality flaws that we need to overcome. Modern psychology teaches that we have certain personality groups that we fit in and that none are wrong. It’s the old “I’m ok. You’re ok.” teaching. In it there is no right or wrong and you are who you were programmed to be and there is nothing that you can do about it. I don’t agree with this line of thinking, as the old man is what we overcome when we are born again and we steadily should be walking more like Christ as we mature.
Even Christians are getting on the bandwagon with personality types. We sometimes see Sunday School classes finding out who they are and then they are shown their strengths. Seldom do I hear of someone pointing out the flaws with someone when personality types are discussed so that they can improve.
Now, let’s go back to Mary and Martha. Mary continued to sit at Jesus’ feet listening to our Lord. Martha began to be concerned about other matters. Perhaps she was serving refreshments or drinks. Maybe she was cleaning up since she realized the Son of God was in her home. Either way she was irritated at her sister for reacting differently.
Sometimes we do things that are legitimate and have significance and yet we should be doing something else. The title of this message refers to such “right” actions that are done at the wrong time.
Before I go into the meat of this message, let’s finish the story. In verse 40, Martha is said to be cumbered about much serving. I looked up the word to try and get more from it. It means to be drawn away, over-burdened and distracted. Her question to the Lord only emphasizes her error. Anytime someone questions God and feels like they have been cheated by Him they are in the wrong. Martha asked if Jesus cared. Jesus always cares. Martha told Jesus to get Mary into the kitchen. Anytime we tell Jesus what He should do we are also wrong!
This short snap reveals much about Martha. It tells us of two problems that she has. First, she has an attitude problem. She easily could have been the quiet servant who lovingly listened to Jesus from the kitchen. She could have been at Jesus’ feet just like Mary. Second, she has a priority problem. She should have done the thing that had eternal significance. Look at Jesus’ response.
Jesus responded to her that she was careful and troubled (anxious and bothered) by many things. It’s very humiliating to find out that you were wrong, isn’t it; especially when you have spoken up and tried to show someone their faults. All of us think stupid things but when we speak them out loud we really show our faults.
Jesus said that she was troubled by many things. There are always many things that we could do or be concerned about at any one time. We have a multiple choice life in which we must selectively live. Jesus then said that one thing was needful (v42). Isn’t that amazing? Of all the things that we could do at any one time, only one thing is “needful”. We have one choice that is important. Jesus finished by stating that Mary had chosen that one, needful thing and that it would not be taken from her.
Now, let’s go back and apply all of this to our lives. The majority of people in this world go through life reacting to events instead of being proactive in their life to make it better. They, like Martha, are burdened down by the business of this world. In the parable of the sower (Matt 13) Jesus points out people that had the seed choked out by the cares of this world.
Let me present some things to you for your consideration. If you have children today, are you doing the needful thing? When you are together in the evenings are you actively focused on molding them into people of God? There are many activities that you can do with your children. You could watch television, read a book, play a game, have conversation about some topic or even go somewhere. Do you choose the one that is most important? In the same way, the action that Martha was doing was a legitimate thing and not sinful in itself, nevertheless it was the wrong thing to do at that time.
Men, let me ask you this; are you so busy working to make money for your family that you don’t have time to be with them? Working to provide for your family is scriptural (1st Timothy5:8). But if you are on the job at times when you don’t have to be, then you are in sin.
Ladies, are you so busy working that you don’t have time to sit with your children or husband and connect emotionally with them? Are you dropping them off at daycare and allowing someone else to raise them? And is all of this so that you can make money to buy that bigger house and car you couldn’t afford if your husband alone worked? You need to do the needful thing, because you are also doing the wrong right thing today.
Ministers, are you so involved with your ministry that you have neglected the ministry God has for you - your family? If you don’t make your family the needful thing you could easily lose them to the world. How many ministers of the Gospel have we all seen with family disasters? It always comes down to the fact that they neglected their families and treated their flock with more attention.
And finally Church, let me address you. Are you so busy today with the mechanics of church service that you are turning away a chance to sit at Jesus’ feet? Are you going through the motions in a service just like hundreds of others when you might have a chance to hear directly from the Lord? Is religion what you have or a true relationship with Jesus Christ?
You see, the needful thing is always the eternal thing. Washing dishes and paying bills will be back around in our lives. I like a quote that I heard the other day. It said that “on the day that you die your inbox will still be full”. Think about that for a moment. All of the tasks that we have on this earth never get done. We can think we’ve “caught up” and then the pipes freeze and burst. Bills that we pay always seem to come around next month. The oil that you just changed in your car will get dirty again.
Are you so busy doing the things that are temporary that you’ve missed a divine eternal opportunity? I hope that this scripture burns in us all today and that we will stop what we are doing to sit at the feet of the Master. May the Lord Bless you in the reading of His Word.
Prayer-Father God, as we have been busy in our lives each day and have missed times that we could have spent with You and for You forgive us for our sins. Make known to us the needful thing that we should be doing. Give us wisdom to know what to do.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
1) What are some things that you think Martha was doing?
2) What are some reasons we get angry at those who are doing the right thing?
3) How can we know what the needful thing is?
4) Name a time that you thought you were doing something that was good but it was at a bad time…
Jas:4:17: Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
The choice is ours.