“What Really Matters?“
Sept 20, 2020
-> Have you ever felt frazzled? Have you felt like you were on the perpetual hamster wheel of the busy life with no way off. You just run and run, the wheel squeaks, but you seem to get no where? And the list of things you have to do keeps piling up? Places to go…things to do… hats to wear… Maybe you felt that way PRE-COVID? Maybe the last several months were a nice reset. But now as we have hit the fall season, you feel life getting a bit out of control again? You are maybe starting to feel the pressure again of all the things you could be doing and “should” be doing?
-> I sense that churches have felt the same struggle. For so long, it was about programs, about doing things every night of the week, running ministries for everyone, making sure that there is a busy full calendar of stuff at the church (don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of things that we were doing that was great and needed….) But I wonder if we ever felt like we were just doing and doing, and feeling some satisfaction in all our doing, but knowing somehow that really, we are just running in an hamster wheel and not really going anywhere?
-> If there is one thing that COVID has revealed in churches across North America is our general comfort with status quo in terms of why we run ministry, how we run ministry, and what ministries we run. Are we doing what we think is expected of us, and putting a whole bunch of energy into what we think we need to run because that is just what we do?
-> Have we ever taken the time to ask, in all the things we are doing (whether it be at home or at church) “What really matters?” What is it that I actually should be doing, rather than what is it that we could be doing?
-> As I look at our lives personally, and I look at our lives as the church moving ahead, I want us to ask that question “what really matters?” I also want to look at a passage in scripture that speaks about that very topic.
-> On their way to Jerusalem and stop in Bethany
-> This is the home of Mary and Martha and brother Lazarus (remember him? He
would later die, and Jesus would bring him back to life after being in the grave for
a few days.)
-> Martha welcomes them in, plays the role well of hostess. A role that she would have likely been accustomed to playing. In that culture and time, being invited into a home to share a meal was the ultimate sign of deep relationship.
-> Mary does something strange… out of place for that culture.
-> Rather than be a hostess like it would have been expected, she sits at the feet of Jesus, much like a student sat at the feet of a rabbi to learn.
-> This is an oddity because women generally were not students of the rabbi.
This was a role reserved for males.
-> There she was, sitting in a place where generally only men would sit, sitting in a room full of men, clearly out of place, not serving in her traditional role.
-> Martha was distracted. Martha always gets the bad wrap here… but can you understand why she was distracted?
-> Did she know Jesus and the crew were coming? There was no emails, texts, or phone calls that could be made. At the very most, there may have been a messenger that ran on ahead to say Jesus was coming. But it is doubtful that Martha had much warning (if any). How many of you like surprise dinner guests?
-> She couldn’t just pull out a Lasagna from M&M Meats from the freezer and cook it at 450 for 2 hrs. Or go to the local McD’s to buy 3 dozen Big Macs. There was no convenience available.
-> What all went into prepping food? Did she have to slaughtering animals? Did she have to make bread from scratch with her bare hands? How about building a fire to cook on rather than turning on the gas stove or BBQ?… um no thanks. I cook a lot these days, and don’t mind it, but I wouldn’t want to imagine the stress in front of Martha.
-> She feels more than just a little slighted and abandoned by her sister. Mary has one job to do and will not do it. Ever worked with someone like that? Can you understand Martha’s stress? And now Martha has this huge job to do to make this big meal to honour the Lord, and she is stressing. She needs that extra set of hands…
-> Can you picture the scene in the pantry as she prepares? The heavy sighing, the groaning that got a little bit louder, the self talk under the breath….and she is working herself up to the point that she can no longer handle it.
-> She confronts Mary in front of Jesus, hoping that the teacher will rebuke her and side with Martha, and that Mary will be shamed. It is also a bit of a rebuke to Jesus as in her eyes, He should have known better than to even let Mary sit at his feet when she had a job to do.
-> Jesus doesn’t seem to be mad or angry with Martha. In fact, His response is loving, and filled with compassion – but He does respond.
-> Paraphrasing, He tells her: calm down, take a breath. Stop and smell the roses…. You are too tightly wound.
-> He reminds her that at the end of the day, not everything truly matters. These details are temporary (the making of the meal), and what Mary has chosen (spiritual growth and nourishment) isn’t.
-> I wonder how transformational this encounter with Jesus was for Mary? It is Mary who would go on, at another visit, to anoint Jesus prior to His crucifixion. Is there something during that teaching time that impacted her heart to prepare her for her act of sacrifice and love later?
-> Have you taken an inventory of your life lately and asked “what really matters?” Are you too busy running in the daily wheel doing a whole bunch of good things and missing out on the God things that you are supposed to be doing?
-> What has God called you to do that you are too busy to do? For example, how are you pouring into your family? Are you too busy to pour into your spouse and children? Is your life out of balance because of all the demands you think you need to meet? Are you spending time mentoring someone and being mentored? How about your own personal spiritual growth? Is there time to spend with God?
-> What are the ‘God things’ He is calling you to that you are too busy to do because you are doing good things?
-> What matters for us as a church? What are the ‘God things’ we are called to that we have forgotten? Are we too caught up in the details of who we think we need to be and what we think we need to do based on what everyone else is telling us that we have forgotten that it comes down to only one factor? Jesus!
-> At the end of the day, as a church we are called to be all about Jesus. The church was created to ultimately make Jesus known to the world, and help people grow in their faith in Christ. It was called to be Christ to the world. The church is all about Jesus.
-> So are we all about Jesus? Is He all that matters to us as a church?
-> Last week I said we were going to talk this year about disciple making. We were going to talk about intentional spiritual growth in you, and then you going and investing that into the life of someone else, who then does the same thing.
-> In order for us to be a disciple making church, Jesus has to be our focus. Following Him needs to be our game plan. Being like Him needs to be our identity. Growing in our faith in Him needs to be our passion.
-> What really matters to us as a church? Are we ready?