Saturday, July 20, 2013

Proper 11

Proper 11
Luke 10:38-42

O Lord, grant us the Spirit to hear Your Word and know the one thing needful that by Your Word and Spirit we may live according to Your will through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Mary & Martha have Jesus over for dinner. He is invited for a meal in their home. Martha was concerned that everything, the furnishings, the guests seated at the table, the meal, – everything - had to be perfect. 

Mary is content to sit at the feet of the Savior.  Martha is distracted with much serving. What can be gleaned from this conversation the Savior had with the members of this family?

I.        Only one thing is needed. The one thing needed is for you to sit at the feet of the Savior; to listen to His Word, to abide in Him, and to know of His direction and care in your life.

A.     To sit at the feet of the Savior.

1.      You are doing this, this very moment. You are sitting at the feet of the Savior listening to His Word. Drinking deep from His instruction.

2.      This has been the routine of so many. In a word it’s called “faithfulness”. You have been found faithful. Faithful in coming to service. Faithful in your hearing of God’s Word. Faithful in receiving His gifts with thanksgiving.

B.     To listen to His Word.

1.      As Christ comes to you in His Word which is preached, taught, shared, read.  You respond with a faithful heart.  

2.      Make it a daily habit; make it a part of your everyday ritual. There are countless resources which are readily available; our daily devotionals, “Time in the Word”  Portals of Prayer, and for our children, My Devotions.  Use them!

C.     To abide in Christ.

1.      He initiated this relationship with you when you were baptized. St. Paul would remind us in his letter to the Romans, “When we were baptized into Christ Jesus, we were baptized into His death. We were buried with Him by our Baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His.” - Romans 6

2.      He will keep this promise. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of this wonderful promise.  “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  Hebrews 13:21

D.     To know of His direction and care.

1.      He has been doing this all your life. His word and promise to you on the day of His Ascension is an enduring promise. He said, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.” – Matthew 28 - Every moment of your life, in every circumstance, He is shaping and using these events of your life to draw you closer to Himself.

2.      But, will He change? Will He change His mind concerning your situation? He can never change. You and I are so fickle changing our minds constantly. Not so with your Lord. He has bound Himself to His Word.  He has clearly spoken this truth through His prophet Malachi when He said, “I am the Lord, I do not change!” (3:6)

Transition:  Only one thing is needed. To sit at the Savior’s feet is a wise choice.

II.     Mary chose what is better. She chose to trust and believe in Christ first. Serving has its place – yet, serving comes from believing.

A.     To trust and believe in Christ is of first import.

1.      It must be top priority. When Christ is not the center of everything we do we are violating the 1st Commandment. We must fear love and trust in God above all things

2.      It must be chief among all of us. St. Paul would remind us, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  – 1 Corinthians 2:2

B.     Serving does have its place.

1.      Without serving nothing would get done. There are so many needs. We need faithful people to be the hands and feet of Christ.   

2.      There is much to do.  What then should be out motivation?  Consider the instruction of St. Paul recorded for us in Colossians 3:17- And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Then Paul gets specific, Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  Slaves, {employees} obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. -  (Colossians 3:18-22)

C.     Yet serving comes from believing.

1.      We serve only after we have sat and listened. We receive instruction first. Then, we go out into the world as ambassadors for Jesus Christ. We serve, with all our strength. But first we’re fed.

2.      Serving is our response to sitting and listening. We worship on Sunday. Service is performed Monday through Saturday as you live your lives in your given vocations as husbands, wives, children, employees and masters - praising God while you are serving your neighbor.

Transition: Because we choose to sit and the feet of the Savior and listen our reward can not be taken from us.

III.   It will not be taken away from her. A faith which trusts is an enduring faith. It is the blessed assurance we have in Christ, it is a faith that endures throughout time.

A.     A faith which trusts is an enduring faith. Trust is nothing more then another word for faith. Trust is nothing more then taking God at His Word.               

1.      He gives you faith - it will get you through times of testing - in which we are tempted to believe whether God your Father will act for you.

2.      He gives you faith - it will get you through times of doubt -  in which we are called to question whether God your Father is concerned for you.

B.     This is the “blessed assurance” we have in Christ. For He relieves all fear and removes all doubt and sets us apart to be His people for time and eternity.

C.     It is a faith that will endure.

1.      The devil, world and flesh can not defeat faith. They are already crushed as Jesus went to the blood and cruel cross of Calvary and suffered - for you - and then victoriously rose from the grave to defeat our last enemy - death.  Every time you commune this promise of the cross and tomb is given for you. Christ’s body is given - for you - and His blood was shed - for you.  

2.      We are secure in Christ Jesus.  That’s why you are encouraged to pray in the morning and in the evening, “…into Thy hand I commend myself;(placing) my body and soul and all things (into your care). Let Your Holy Spirit be with me that - the devil, world, and the flesh - may have no power over me,”

 Only one thing is needful. What was evident in the life of Mary – sitting at the feet of the Savior may it be found in you today, tomorrow and throughout your days. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Image: Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

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