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Finding Balance

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Good Morning, It has been a busy week full of different emotions for us… We got to celebrate Julotta on Wednesday… I am Thankful for a beautiful service and the coming together of families…
It has also been a very difficult week. As we learned of the tragic accident of Lee and Debbies son.. Eddy… our hearts go out to Lee and Debbie, Nathan, Tiffanie, Jack and Maddie and the whole Family..
Words can’t even begin to express the way that we feel… we are trusting that you feel our love and we are praying that God would meet us and help us and strengthen us in this time of need…
We love you and we understand that this is going to be a journey … and we hoping to walk with you.. over the coming weeks and months ahead... This is when the Church family really counts --- I am so thankful for this community and those of you that have already stepped up...
This morning, we are going take a few moment to talk about the importance of Finding Balance..
In just a few days we are going to be in a new year and a new decade…
This time of the year we start reevaluating our lives and our priorities … and maybe start making some news years resolutions… However, We all know that New Years resolutions are really hard to keep… the average person abandons their resolutions within the first 6 weeks of the year…
This morning we are going to look at simpler solution to our News resolution
That is simply to find Balance….
Balance is ...
“The even distribution off weight that enables something to remain upright and steady
balance speaks of staying the course…
There are certain memories that are vivid to me from my childhood…And one of them was learning to ride a bike… our front yard sat on an incline and my dad held onto the seat… and he ran next to me as he pushed me up and down the hill… letting go of me now and agian… and he told me to pedal as fast as I could… I remember that sensation of trying to find my center of gravity. . ....the place of Balance… you lean to one side and then you have to lean on the other-side...and eventually I got it and I was off… I discovered that as long as I distributed by weight evenly and kept on pedaling I moved forward….
There is lot we can learn about ridding a bike --- You see …When things are balanced in our lives things seem to work better
Whether it’s learning to ride a bike, or having your tires balanced, having your check book balanced, when your schedule is balanced, your spiritual life balanced… balancing time between work and family… When those things are centered things work… but on the other hand we have all experienced… when things get out of balance…
Maybe our schedule is out of balance, or our finances… our sleep habits… when this happens... life can gets difficult…
WE are going to be looking at a familiar text in Luke 10:38 —This is whenJesus comes to visit his Good friends … Mary, Martha and Lazarus… in town of Bethany…
Let’s reads our text..
Luke 10:38–42 ESV
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
What is interesting about this section of scripture is the timing of Jesus visit…..
Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem — This is towards the conclusion of his ministry… Jesus had always had his sights on Jerusalem — where he was going to lay down his life on the cross....but before this.. he take a little detour to visit his friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus in Bethany…. which is about 2 miles outside of Jerusalem.
Why does Jesus stop to visit this particual family?
The reasons seems to be a special bond that exists between Jesus and this family….… we are told that Lazarus was called the one whom the Lord Loved… So there is something special here… Jesus felt welcomed in this home..
And is pretty Obvious why.. You see..
Martha was homemaker… she loved the whole process of cooking, decorating and entertaining… it was awesome gift… She was one of those people that has the ability of making you feel incredibly special...
When Jesus arrives in Bethany Martha is the first person to reach out to him and to welcome him into her home…
Mary on the other hand is a devoted and loyal friend… she is a worshiper… a learner…
We have these two sister who are both friends of Jesus… who both have unique gifts and strengths… Martha has a gift of Hospitality..... Mary… is a devoted friend and Worshiper…
… both Mary and Martha possesses two excellent qualities… They both have the proper response and an openness to Jesus and his message..
The point of this encounter is not to make a contrast …but rather the point is the Priority of Balancing and setting the right goals… and finding our Center of Gravity
Finding the Balance between works and worship…
What I have found that there is often this misconception of Balance… Often people find balance by simply stopping…I have seen people take a break from service and never return again… Here is the thing…what happens when you stop pedaling your bike… you Fall over.... it about finding the mean... or the medium...
Balance is about finding Margins in our lives — the average piece of paper is 8.5x11 inches… most teaches require that you leave a margin when writing and there is a reason… an empty boarder helps us to focus on the printed text… It creates a comfortable feel for our eyes… The Margins actually take up quite a bit of space…37.4% of the page is normally blank
When we are balanced and create Margins in our lives we are balanced we function at the our optimum...
What often happens is that we tend to over extend ourselves and we start to write in the margins… when we do that we we struggle to keep up with pace.
If we don't learn how to balance our gifts with spiritual life we are going to find that we are going to burn out...
T/SWhat we learn from Martha and Mary is how to find Balance.. How do we find Balance… firstly.. We...

1. Find Balance by discovering and using Your Gifts.

It might sound unusual that the way to balance is finding your spiritual gift....Here is the thing is that if we don’t find our gift there is going be as sense of unfulfilment…
What we learn from Martha is the importance of knowing and using our gifts in serving the Lord… Luke has a positive view of works through his gospel…
The passage before Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan…Where there is man that is walking along the as notoriously dangerous road to Jericho and he is attacked by some robbers…and left for dead… and Jesus tells us that a priest and Levite…walk by and do nothing they just keep walking…. They had their reasons… not to get involved.. Probably this man would have made them ceremonially unclean… and they wouldn’t be able to fulfill their duties… — but then Jesus tells us that this Good Samaritan stops and helps this man and takes care of this strangers needs…pays for a room in the Inn and checks on him after a few days… Remember this would have had some shock value because the Jews hated Samaritans Jesus talks about a Good Samaritan with the gift of hospitality.…
Martha moved towards needs… where she saw Jesus coming…. She jumped into action… There were no cell phones and text messages… Martha had no warning… she didn’t have time to pick up the house… go shopping… Rather when Martha saw the need and met it immediately… She Welcomed Jesus into her Home... From the moment Jesus arrives she receives Him...
Luke 10:38–42 ESV
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.
John Piper did a sermon some years ago called Strategic Hospitality, and he says,
“… when we practice hospitality … we experience the refreshing joy of becoming conduits of God’s hospitality rather than being self-decaying cul-de-sacs.”
Did you catch the imagery there?
Hospitality is about serving others... It is about building meaningful relationships.... I am thankful for those who full needs in ministry…. This church is impressive… when something comes up — you all pull together… Hospitality is important….
I have learned that in ministry nobody cares how much you know they care how much you care.....
One of the ways the early church grew was through connecting and meeting together in each others homes... and breaking bread together… and as the church is growing the needs became more and more demanding… and then you get to the book of Acts 6 and there is a break down in communication and the Hellenic widows were being forgotten in the daily distribution of food.... the apostles chose deacons men who were full of Faith and the Holy Spirit — look after these needs…. While the apostles gave themselves fully to the ministry of the word.
The word Service mean ministry - diakonia - It speaks of Hospitality - the act of providing -- to meet a practical need... It is a wonderful gift... to be able to serve others.. It is listed as a gift of the Spirit .. Paul tells us that when it comes gifts we should be all in...
Colossians 3:23–24 ESV
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
The Problem with Martha.. is not her gift of Hospitality… but rather she lost her balance —-she got distracted by all her business… and lost sight of the priority of the nonsense..
While Martha gets caught up in being a Hostess --- her sister Mary takes time to sit and Jesus feet... And Martha sees that Worship is getting in the way of service... Where worship and service need to always go together in tandium!
T/S How do we find Balance.
1. Find Balance by discovering and using Your Gifts.

2. Find Balance by Making time for Your Spiritual life.

There are somethings that are better faster than slower…. When it comes to the internet faster is better… We have a pressure cooker… we can cook a stew in like 20 minutes… I think Dennis told us that they cooked a whole turkey on Thanksgiving within 40 minutes… That’s just incredible…
Maybe when it comes to the length of a sermon faster is better…but when it comes to the spiritual life…. Slower is faster….
John Ortburg says “All the technology at MIT canning microwave the healing of a human heart.”
While Martha is panicking over the dishes on the top of hot stove..
Mary sits at the Lord feet..
Luke 10:39 ESV
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
Luke tells us that Mary Sat at the feet of Jesus – She is in close proximity to Jesus… sitting at the Lords feet means she was sitting adjacent or very near to Jesus...
Mary has taken the posture of a disciple a learner….she is close enough to absorb every word…
Now there might be this thought that Mary is being lazy… she is skipping out on some chores… In my mind it is easier to do chores than to spend time studying something.. There is submission with learning..
--- Learning requires that we put ourselves under the authority of scripture... Learning is an activity...
Mary’s posture expressed a desire to learn… she sat at she listened to Jesus… Here the Greek imperfect tense hearing… speaks of Mary being locked into every word and absorbing Jesus words...
Mary was an intense learner… Here is the thing…
Mary is often portrayed in terms of her subjective adoration or her passionate worship of Jesus. There is such awe with any disciple. But the telling point is her rapt attention to the Word.
Mary took the time to contemplate the teachings of Christ...
Can you imagine listen to Jesus words... God literally speaking to the very depths of your heart and soul... Words of life... words that transform and change... Here is the thing is that we still have that privilege to let His words impact our lives... But it comes in a distraction free environment...
It comes through active listening of contemplation, observation and application..
Martha is thinking that Working in the kitchen is expending energy... It takes energy to be a learner.... We all understand that learning is difficult... While Martha is distracted with business ---Mary is zoned in... tuned into the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus encourages us to come to him with our complaints — come to him with our struggles… come to him with our burdens and he will give us rest...
Matthew 11:28–30 ESV
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
T/S How do we find Balance.
1. Find Balance by discovering and using Your Gifts.
2. Find Balance by Making time for the Spiritual life.

3. Find Balance by discerning the Right time.

There is this painting from the Spanish artist Diego Velázquez — entitled Christ in the House of Martha and Mary — I think he captures this scene quite well… He
This is a very real domestic scene.. things that happen everyday in households... where there are chores to be done.. Seems that some of us are better than others..
Martha is using here hospitality gift... she is hard at it.. maybe she is getting weary by all the dishes... She thinks this would go a lot quicker if I had help.. Where is Mary... she looks over into the room and there is Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus…
Martha can no longer contain her self..
Luke 10:40 ESV
40 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.”
... it is eating her on the inside.. and she has to do something about it... she went up to Jesus. "Lord do your not CARE that my Sister has left me alone to SERVE alone... Martha is not worried about a confrontation with Mary... ....
Martha’s complaint fits the circumstances and would be seen as completely valid. She is doing what women are supposed to do, working hard at preparing the meal and making everyone comfortable.
Mary is doing what only male disciples are supposed to do. She has “left [Martha] to do the work” by herself, and so she wants Jesus to “tell her to help me.” To her (and most Jews) Mary’s true place is alongside Martha in the kitchen, not at Jesus’ feet.
... Jesus directs Martha not to the torah but to himself and he says One thing is needful… Jesus deliberately placed himself above law and legalism..
Luke 10:41–42 ESV
41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
When Jesus says, “Martha, Martha,” do you know what he is doing? In Semitic language, the doubling of a word means magnification.
When it comes to the doubling of a name, it means tremendous intensity and magnification of feeling
The repetition of Martha’s name conveys Jesus’ affection for her, and an understanding of her predicament. “All the preparations” (v. 40) have made her anxious and distracted by “many things” (v. 41). Jesus does not condemn Martha, but reminds her with gentleness and firmness of a better way.
Martha did not realize that at that critical time in Jesus’ life he would have preferred her company over her service—and that he regarded her fellowship with him as more important than serving him a meal.
Her sense of priorities was skewed. Given where Jesus was on the road to Jerusalem, some things were more important than a good meal
Luke tells us that Martha was distracted with "much service." Possible to get distracted by service.
Martha had a misconception of the relationship between Work and Worship...
Martha focused on the urgent and unimportant... While Mary focused on the Not urgent but important...
The problem is that Martha gets unbalanced…Works come easy to Martha… We tend to easily flow in our gifting… because it is natural to us…
Jesus advice to deal with things that we control is to focus on one thing.... Cast you cares upon him... Come to Him you who are heavy laden and He will give you rest...
David understood what was like to seek the Lord… Seek the one thing...
Psalm 27:4 ESV
4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.
Mary has chosen the good portion...
When it comes to Balance it is reduced to our choices… it boils down to what we prioritize… ...Martha Chose to be busy… she could have easy turned everything off… but she chose to continue… Mary Chose… to sit and learn at the feet of Jesus..
Jesus reminds Martha… of the simplicity of faith.. Martha is concerned with the Many… But in reality -- Only one thing is needed right now... It is all about timing -- this is Jesus final moments with his friends...
Right now one thing is more important than anything else.. that would to be sitting and listening .. it is not the time to give -- it is time to be restored..
Mary has made the gospel primary, to which all other things, even hospitality, are relative. The primacy of the gospel is the “good part,” for it alone determines the life of discipleship, and it shall not be taken from Mary.
... The word of God is the Good portion... that will not be taken away....heaven and earth will pass away but his word will endure for ever
Conclusion
We all have aspects of Mary and Martha within us.... We all have the challenge to find the Balance between business…spending time with God in his word
Every day we are faced with things that need to get done.... We can either get swept away but the urgent and unimportant…or we can stand our ground and be balanced...
The difference between Mary and Martha is Martha is swept along by them. She’s swept along. It’s sort of like a stream, and she’s just being taken with them.
Mary has put her feet at the bottom of the stream, and in spite of the fact the stream is going that way, Mary finds time for focused attention and sitting at the Lord’s feet in spite of distractions, in spite of opposition, and she does it.
Jesus tells Martha that Mary had made the better choice… because what she chose will never be taken… Spiritual investments have eternal value…
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