6th Sunday after Pentecost (Prop 11 – C)
July 16, 2022
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
The text that I have chosen for this morning’s sermon is the Gospel from St. Luke.
Every once in a while, I’ll watch a TV show and realize that the families are nothing like ours. We like to watch House Hunters, and the people always say the same thing – they want a place to entertain because they like hosting family and friends. I, on the other hand, do not want an entertaining space. Just the thought of visitors is enough to ramp up my anxiety. Is the house clean enough? Will they like the food? And most of all, what will they say after they’ve left? It’s all very stressful! Some hosts thrive on this, others not so much, and that’s where we find Martha today.
She’s stressed out, rushing around, trying to get things done, and we get it! She has one very important guest, and possibly twelve of His friends, come for a visit and she wants things perfect. We’d freak out too if Jesus dropped in on us. Where Jesus is different from other guests is that He wouldn’t critique our homes or our cooking because He isn’t worried about all that. All He wanted from Martha, and all He wants from us, is to sit at His feet and hear Him speak.
Jesus once told a prospective disciple: “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Jesus didn’t have a home of His own, He didn’t have a job, He relied on the goodness of others like Martha. And Martha wasn’t just a hospitable lady; she loved Jesus and she believed in Him. About a year later, she confessed her faith: “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” If you could ask Martha, I bet she would say she wanted to sit at the feet of Jesus like her sister, except there was just too much to do. She had to make sure that Jesus had everything He needed.
She was so anxious and worried about being the perfect host she didn’t realize that Jesus was serving her more than she was Him. Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things.” Jesus knew she was being pulled in every direction, worried about what she could and couldn’t control, that she believed she didn’t have the time to sit. Martha’s not unique though, is she? How often do you sit at the feet of Jesus, who is in your house all the time?
We’re distracted, anxious, and worried. We’re busy, the kids are busy, and there’s no “me time”. We have all these stressors pulling us in one direction and then another. And maybe you do know you need to read your Bible and attend church, but you think you just don’t have any time to spare. But see, if you don’t make time for the important thing, the “good portion,” Jesus and His Word, nothing is ever going to get better. You need to listen, read, study, and take to heart what God wants to tell you. Think about it for a minute. In every one of your homes (probably), you have at least one copy of the Bible, and in those thin pages, you have the precious Word of God. People sometimes say that life would be easier if God just spoke to them; but He does!
Sit with Mary at feet of Jesus and listen. You don’t have to sit for an hour or two, because while that would be great, a few minutes is good too. Listen as Jesus says: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” And “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…Look at the birds of the air… your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” It’s His Word that speaks calm to worried hearts. It’s His precious Word that offers rest for our weary souls. Jesus calls you to listen, not because it’s a chore you’re supposed to check off your to do list, it’s because He wants you to hear what He has to say about Himself and what He does for you.
When Jesus said, “Martha, Martha” it sounds like Jesus is scolding her, and He is a little, but He’s doing more than that. By saying “Martha, Martha”, He’s telling her that she needs to rest, and He is the one who provides it. She needs help, and He’s in her home to give it. So also, He calls your name, calls you to sit at His feet and receive His lifegiving, lifesaving, Word. He calls you to receive the good portion of His love and grace. Sit at His feet and hear Him forgive your sins, proclaim hope for your despair, speak peace for your chaos, and give healing for your pain.
We should be clear here though. Just because Mary sat at the feet of Jesus doesn’t mean all her problems went away. She’s like all of us. She got stressed out, she got sick, she didn’t listen to Jesus as she should’ve. Listening to Jesus does not mean our problems cease to exist. It does mean though, that Jesus in His Word, gives us His promises, His Holy Spirit, so that we can persevere and know He will lead us through our stormy lives. As we said in the Introit: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” And did you catch the connection between the Introit and the Gospel? In the Introit we said, “The Lord is my portion” and what does Jesus tell Martha? “One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Isn’t that awesome? When we sit at the feet of Jesus, when we hear His Word, when we gather with other Christians for worship, He cannot be taken away from us! Jesus is greater than anything that causes us stress, anxiety, or worry. He is greater than all those things that we let push Him to the side, that lead us to give Him whatever time we have leftover. Sit at Jesus feet first, and see what He does for you.
I wonder if Martha did put aside her work and sit beside Mary. I can imagine that maybe it was begrudgingly at first. I can see her with her arms crossed, one eye on the kitchen, one eye on Mary, and an ear on Jesus. Her stress didn’t suddenly disappear. But I believe that the words and promises of Jesus worked on her and she began to focus on Him, the one thing that matters more than anything else.
This one thing, this Savior who gives you His actual Word, doesn’t care if your house is messy, the food isn’t the best, or that you’re so frazzled you barely had time to brush your teeth. He only cares that you sit with Him. Sit for an hour, sit for two. Sit for five minutes, sit for ten. Every minute spent in the Bible is guaranteed to make a difference in your life. It’s in the Bible that Jesus talks to you just as He talked to Martha and Mary. It’s in the Bible He calls your name, refocuses your attention on Him, so that He can give you the one thing needful – Himself.
Now the peace which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen