Saturday, July 20, 2019

Pentecost 6 - Proper 11

July 21, 2019
Luke 10:42
One thing necessary


Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken from her.” 

Grant us, Lord, the Spirit to think and do always such things as are please in Your sight that we, who without Your guidance cannot do anything that is good, may be enabled to live according to Your will. [2]

It was the June meeting of the Tabea Society. Some years ago.  Each month there was roll call. Along with a question. Asked by the host. And the question for the JUNE meeting was…”what are your plans for Thanksgiving?”  This seemed only natural for those sitting around the table.

Thanksgiving?  Why ask such a question? In June?  We hadn’t even celebrated Flag Day! Or the 4th of July. Or Labor Day. Or Columbus Day. Thanksgiving? “What are your plans for Thanksgiving?” In June?

Well, over time I’ve discovered that Thanksgiving is the one holiday when people travel. Especially if you have family living out of state. So it’s only natural to be making plans for Thanksgiving even as early as June. Who cares if the holiday is five months away!  If you’re hosting an event. And it’s your responsibility. It’s never too soon to start making preparations now.

And now that the children are out of the house, living far, far away Tammy and I, from time to time have had the discussion, “so, what are our plans...for Thanksgiving?”

Mary and Martha have Jesus over for dinner. He is invited for a meal in their home. Martha was concerned about everything. The furnishing. 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. She’s frustrated. Because her sister ignores her. So she asks Jesus to intervene. “Lord, you do care, don’t you, that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Assist me. Make her cooperate. Tell her to take up this service!

What can be gleaned from this conversation the Savior had with the members of this family?

1. 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, 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 your habit, your routine. In a word, it’s called “faithfulness.” You have been found to be faithful. Faithful in coming to service. Faithful in your hearing of the Savior’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 and read. You respond with a faithful heart. 

2. Make it a daily habit. Make it a part of your daily ritual. There are countless resources, which are readily available. Our daily devotionals; Time in the Word, Portals of Prayer, and for our children – the daily Bible stories read in Morning Prayer at school.   Use them! [3]

C. To abide in Christ. 

1. He alone initiated this with you when you were baptized. St. Paul would remind us, “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 life 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 forever 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 

2. Every moment of your life. In every circumstance. He is shaping and using these events of your life to draw you closer to Himself.  The temptation of this age is to live in the moment. Christ has the perspective of eternity. Know this – He orders all of your days. He directs your path.

3. Yet, 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, “I am the Lord, I do not change.” – Malachi 3:5

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

2. 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 the first import.

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

2. It must be chief among all of us. Says St. Paul, “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 may needs. We need faithful people. To be the hands and feet, the fingers and toes of Jesus. 

2. There is much to do. What then should be our motivation? Consider the instruction of St. Paul: “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 He gets specific:

a. Wivessubmit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.

b. Husbandslove your wives and do not be harsh with them.

c. Childrenobey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord

d. Parentsdo not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

e. EmployeesObey 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 at the feet of Jesus. We receive instruction first. Then, we go out into the world as ambassadors for Christ. We serve, with all our strength. But first, we’re fed.

2. Serving is our response to sitting and listening. We go to a worship service. Then, in service, we worship. We worship on Sunday. Service is performed Monday through Saturday – as you live your live in your given vocation as husband, wife, child, employee, master – praising God while you serve your neighbor. Remember the slogan of the cleaning service, ServiceMaster® - providing Service to the Master.

Transition: Because you choose to sit at the feet of the Savior and listen – your reward cannot be taken from you. 

3. It will not be taken away from her. A faith, which trusts, is an enduring faith. It is the blessed assurance you have in Christ. It is a faith that endures though out time. 

A. A faith, which trusts, is an enduring faith. Faith is nothing more than another word for trust. Trust is nothing more than taking God at His Word. 

1. The Spirit gives you faith. It will get you through times of testing – When you are tempted to believe, whether God your Father will act for you.

2. The Spirit gives you faith. It will get you through times of doubt – In which you are called to question whether God your Father is concerned for you. 

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

C. It is a faith that will endure.

1. The devil, world and flesh cannot defeat faith. They are already crushed. As Jesus went to the bloody and cruel cross of Calvary. Where He suffered for you, and then victoriously rose from the grave. To defeat your last enemy – death. 

2. Every time you commune at His altar. The promise of the cross and tomb is given to you. Christ’s body is given – for you – as His blood was shed –for you!

3. You are secure in Christ. That’s why you pray in the morning and 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 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 Jesus –may it continue to be found in you – today, tomorrow – and throughout your days! In Jesus’ Name. Amen 

Words – 1,690
Passive Sentences –11% 
Reading Level – 4.0  

[1] Luther’s Seal © Higher Things
[2] Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost, Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[3] If you would read the daily readings contained in Time in the Word over a three- year period you would go through much of the Bible. The readings found in Morning Prayer contain 140 Bible stories - 70 from the Old Testament, 70 from the New Testament.
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS.

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