LUKE 10:38-42 – Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
THEME OF THE DAY. BUSYNESS PRODUCES BAD THEOLOGY. Today’s scripture has been the source of many sermons on busyness. I am sure quite a few preachers have proclaimed the dangers of being a busy Martha and not a pondering Mary. There are even books written along these lines. I ran into two titles, “Being a Mary in a Martha World” and “Having a Martha Home the Mary Way: 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul.” I don’t know anything about the authors or their books, but the titles do bring us to a couple of realities in life. First, we live in a fast-paced world that measures success more by accomplishments and activity than character and virtue. Another thing I took away from these books, particularly the second one, is that there are no short cuts to a satisfied soul. I am not critiquing or criticizing the author, but the title is misleading. I wish there was some fast track to a spiritually satisfied soul, but there isn’t. It takes time to be holy, to know the Lord, and to be shaped into the image of Christ. But today’s nugget isn’t another exhortation toward being more Mary-like than Martha. There is something of spiritual significance to learn from Martha and it isn’t just saying “no” to busyness. It is what is produced by busyness, and not just a barren soul, but the development of a poor theology of God. And that is very significant because what we believe of God determines how we pray, live, worship, serve . . . everything. We will see that Martha’s busyness created a theology of God that was not Biblical. And if we don’t put the brakes on our busyness, we will be “Martha-like” in our theology too. With that said, let’s look at how busyness creates bad theology.
Jesus enters the house of the two sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha approaches Him with a question, complaint, and command. All three reveal a failure to know God as He really is which is the end goal of theology.
First, Martha’s question reveals she has forgotten the character of God. Notice what she says, “Do you not care?” Wait a minute. Standing right before her is the God who is love. His character is love and His creature questions this chief quality in Him. How do we feel when someone questions our character and integrity? The application for us is this . . . neglect the Bible due to busyness; neglect hearing sound preaching that is Christ-centered; allow busyness to take us away from the only source of knowing the One True God, the scriptures, and we will not know Him, leading to a questioning of His character.
Next, Martha’s bad theology of God led her to complain to Him. This is never a good place. Complaining reveals discontent and discontent with the God who is love and sovereign. Always remember, any form of complaining is a direct attack on the goodness of God’s ways and providence. And will bring His displeasure and chastisement into our lives.
Finally, Martha’s bad theology led her to command the Creator – “Tell her then to help me.” Huh? The clay telling the Potter what to do? This is what happens when we claim to know God but lack the Biblical knowledge of Him. We tend to think He exists to serve us, answer our prayers, and be always ready to do our will. Don’t think this is far-fetched. We live in a contemporary Christian culture that is losing the awareness of God’s absolute authority in our lives. There is a growing individualism that focuses on what God does for us while ignoring we are creatures redeemed to be in submission and obedience to ALL HIS COMMANDS. Martha’s lost this because of busyness and so shall we.
So, in the midst of living in a Martha world, be careful not to allow busyness to produce bad theology. It can and will because if it is tolerated in our lives, we remove the necessary time in the Bible to have good and right theology.
PRAYER: “Father, help me to say ‘no’ to a busy life so that I might know Who You really are.”
QUOTE: “If we don’t take time to be in our Bibles, the Only True God will remain a mystery to us despite our profession.”