The Power of What Can Not Be Taken Away
Happy mothers day, all you mom. You have busy and demanding jobs. You never get a day off. You work nights, weekends, holidays. For many everything you do today will be undone by breakfast tomorrow. A sick day means you do the same thing you always do and you just feel worse why you do it. You get training in various skills such as building legos, dressing barbies, throwing the football, playing video games. You may not actually watch the movies but you know every character just because you have heard it so many times.
You are thoroughly trained in baby talk, hostage negotiation and conflict resolution. All part of a single day’s work.
You make peace by telling the kids to share their toys or to stay on their side of the couch. Then you have to make the decision of where that line is on the couch and what body parts may or may not come in contact with that line.
We are grateful for you. It’s no wonder you are tired. But it’s also no wonder you smile.
Motherhood is such an opportunity to affect the heart and mind of a person and shape them to be what God intends them to become. If you need any comfort, strength or power to keep on going then look to Scripture. Our Lord understood all those things. He dealt with difficult people and difficult situations too. Jesus also understood having to step in and break up quarrels among siblings. We are going to look at a passage of Scripture that Jesus addresses two sisters arguing, and most arguing is because we are scared to lose something. Jesus reminds that the solution to these is to work towards what cannot be taken from you, the kingdom of God. When we are living for something that cannot be taken we find power to live rightly and also power to find true rest. I hope this passage helps you find peace in your calling but even more that it empower you moms (and everyone else) to help others find what cannot be taken away.
We are looking at a passage of Scripture that empowers your motherhood.
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." (Luke 10:38-42 ESV)
Mary is a hero of faith. Often we look at the great heroes who went out and conquered armies and villains, but it is also worthy to note those who first conquered themselves. Jesus brings a power that takes us from anxiety and trouble to peace and security, and this sets us on course to be difference makers in the world.
Imparting what cannot be taken.
- The Power of Trust.
Mary and Martha are part of a family that Jesus knew well. He stayed with them here, later he raised their brother from Lazarus the dead. Jesus taught them, loved the dearly, and even wept for them in their suffering. Mary is the one who anointed Jesus feet and wiped them with her hair (John 12:3). While this passage does not reflect Martha’s finest moment, Martha is one who served Jesus and confessed her faith in Jesus and the resurrection he would bring (John 12:1). This is probably an account of their first or at least early meeting of Jesus.
Jesus comes to their place and he probably would have had his disciples and many other people too. His presence would have caused a lot of commotion. Afterall he was the most celebrated figure in history.
At this family’s house, Mary is a paradigm of peace. Martha is a mess! Martha was distracted. literally “pulled or dragged from all around; figuratively be or become distracted, be anxious” (LU 10.40). She was mom on Christmas Eve!
In verse 41 it is said that she is troubled. That same word is used of the concern for a man who has just died by falling out of a window (Acts 20:10). So Martha is as concerned for the preparations as someone might be for a dead person! Isn’t it interesting how our hearts can be so troubled over dinner preparation. This is turkey dinner gone bad.
Mary is at peace but Martha is distracted and troubled. Being able to pull back from work is a reflection of our trust rather than circumstances. Sometimes you have to trust the Lord and push everything to the side in order to get any rest. Stuff always needs to be done and stuff always clamors for you attention.
Life gets complicated, and distractions come up pulling you all over the place. The inordinacy of worldly cares and pursuits is often the cause of stress in families and of strife and contention. There may be legitimate concerns, there may be worldly concerns, or the concerns that maturity will remove.
There is a real connection between trust and rest. If you hope in what is not stable you will never find rest. Your rest is only as good as that object is trustworthy.
Ill: I often get nervous when I have do depend on someone.
Mary is an example of faith and trust and because of that she is able to rest. There is an absence of turmoil, anxiety, fear. What a powerful thing to give your kids.
I hope you moms find rest, because you need it, but I point this passage out not just for you to find rest but so that you are reminded how to help others find rest. Those arguments between kids are caused because they lack rest, they are worried and troubled about many things.
When Christ loves someone he corrects them. We love him for it. And we love those in life who care enough about us to correct us. But we also see his love for her. “Martha, Martha.” He is gentle and kind in his dealings. His corrections invites reflection not embarrassment. Like a mother.
You are going to have many moments each day trying to comfort anxious, troubled and distracted hearts. Every time those kids come running in crying about a grave injustice in the toy room, every time your teenager runs stomping up to her room, and every time your kid calls to vent about what her kids did that day or about fears of her husbands job. Those are times to gently remind others of truth. And it is not just while they are young, you never stop being a mom and they will never stop looking to you for advice.
What does distraction look like in your life or the life of your friends? Who is coming to you troubled? Many times we focus on removing external things, but we also need to consider how one find peace in the heart and mind.
Susannah Wesley. Ten kids, challenging life on a farm and she vowed to spend more of her day in prayer than in entertainment. But with that many kids and tasks to do she could not get away so she would turn her apron over her head and that was the kids cue to not bother mom. Life is bustling around and yet she would turn to the Lord in refuge. She trusted enough to pull away, and that trust left an impression on her kids and many others.
- The Power of Simplifying.
When we moved a few years ago we realized that in order to sell our house we had to stage it and that meant reducing clutter. You don’t realize how much junk clutters your rooms until you start to remove it. I didn’t think we were pack rats until we started removing stuff. We filled up a garage without even touching the big stuff like sofas and tables. And when we removed this stuff we realized how much better everything looked. We could see our mantle and bookshelves and could walk through the living room without bumping into objects. Suddenly the things we valued got accented because they were no longer just one of many things. Sometimes life gets complicated because there is too much stuff there.
We are preoccupied with too many things and we would do better to focus on few things. Productivity is not synonymous with being busy. There are many busy people who are not productive because they are busy with the wrong things. Doing the wrong things is just as bad as not doing anything. Business is never an excuse. It is a reflection of priorities.
If our hearts are not focused on the one right thing then we are distracted and troubled by many things. We do not stand firm in our commitment. We develop fears and worries. Those things rule us!
Life gets complicated when we lose sight of God. We worry about what might happen, what others might think, etc. Is Martha concerned Jesus is going to starve or not have a place to sit? No, she’s more likely worried about what others might think. We don’t know.
Get to the real issue. Martha complains her sister wasn’t helping. But that is not really the issue. Jesus says She is concerned with “many things.” It’s not just her sister is not helping. Often times our frustrations get expressed in secondary ways. Martha is mad Mary is not helping. But really she is troubled by the need to clean, the need to have the food made, where people are going to sit, the concern for what others are going to think, or that Mary didn’t do her share, etc. All good things but they took her away from the one thing, the most important thing.
The things people complain about are not always their issue. Jesus sees right through this. Martha states one complain, but Jesus sees she is worried about many things. Wouldn’t it be nice to be all knowing!
Many things become the issue because the main thing is lost--your relationship with God. Simplify and prioritize the main thing!
Mothers, I'm sure you can relate to needing to have life simplified. But this is also what you do so often for others. Your daughter stomps out of room because her brother just stuck his tongue out, but what is really going on is that she thinks no one likes her, she is ugly, she’s dumb and a dozen other things fall on her. Her identity in God is being tested. Mothers, you are there to minister to your kids. Those fights in the sand box, worries about who to ask to the dance, or fears about the next job are opportunities to help people simplify, live for the one that matters, find their identity in Christ. Helping someone with these issues is the most important, most impacting help you can provide, and yet without God’s word you are completely unprepared for this kind of work. Know your Bible!
- The Power of the Good Portion
Everyone wants a fair portion. Our family frequently has arguments when mom has made an incredible desert. For some reason until you see that slice of mulberry pie land on your plate everyone is worried they are going to get slighted or forgotten. Once it is on your plate you are content. It doesn’t matter what others have. When we know our portion before God we are able to trust him.
Mary chooses a portion that cannot be taken from her. Jesus says mary has chosen the “Good portion.” This is an odd phrase.
Mary has chosen what is better, (Luk 10:42 NIV)
Mary hath chosen that good part, (Luk 10:42 KJV)
Mary has chosen the good portion, (Luk 10:42 ESV)
This word is used in the psalms when it is said the Lord is my portion, my lot, my inheritance (psalm 16:5, psalm 73:26, 119:57, 142:5). The Hebrew word heleq means ones part or share of an inheritance.
The Lord was her all. Jesus was her all. It was her identity. It was a portion that could not, no never ever be taken from her. She could sit without worrying what others thought of her, without the angst of feeling like she needed to do more, earn more money. That’s truly resting in the Lord!
she was confident in what she had with Jesus. This portion is the key to being able to trust to simplify. When your security and identity are in Christ it can’t be taken away. People need to trust in what cannot be lost. Many times we rightly should fear because we are trusting in things that are going to perish, and we will perish with them. Jesus saves us from that!
We have a good portion regardless of what goes on in life. Your sister may not help you or your sister may tell on you. You boss may throw you under the bus or a friend abandon you. In Christ it is OK. You may be a mom, not a mom, not even have a boyfriend, but what you have in Christ is more than that. We love him. We trust him. We see that the good portion is not given in this life but the life to come. If you are not content in Christ, in your maker, then you will not be content in anything.
Mary is at the feet of Jesus. That is an expression that Rabbi’s used for their disciples. It indicates a readiness to receive and to submit oneself to the teaching. Paul said he studied at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). Mary is focused on knowing Jesus. She has cast aside all other things to know her savior. Nothing else matters.
Mary is a picture of discipleship. Her inheritance is with the Lord and she is not driven by fear of other things.
but perfect love casts out fear. (1Jo 4:18 ESV). There are all kinds of things that hold you in bondage. When you serve the Lord you are set free of what others think, of what might happen, and the pressures of what others want of you. Mary didn’t budge. She cared more about what Jesus said that what her sister said. Martha needed other things in addition to Jesus. She feared losing those.
Guys, just so you know this text applies to you. What Jesus says about you is more important than how much money you make, what your title is, and how well things are going in the office. You are concerned with many things and you need to simplify by focusing on the good portion. Its OK if your job doesn’t go the way you hoped. Where is your identity.
The thing that allows us to rest and simplify revolves around what we trust in. What we hope in and are serving. If we are living for what people might think of us we are constantly disappointed, frustrated, depressed. But when our Lord welcomes us into his presences regardless of the mess we have made of our lives you can be secure. Do you have that security. Is your identity connected to Christ or is it solely in yourself. Jesus clothes us with his garments of righteousness.
Is the Lord your portion? You will not find rest and peace until he is. Who’s feet are you sitting at? What do you love? Do you take time to sit in the presence of your savior and enjoy him. That may be the best example to your kids. Just enjoy reading his word and talking to him. I heard someone who visited a small group say their time was like “having a chocolate mouse cake.” They just wanted to go back for more. I think Mary might describe her time at Jesus feet like that.
Judgement: to turn from Jesus is to turn from the good portion. That is the great threat of business, distraction, etc. It is the devil’s tactics to prevent you from being who you can and should be. His tactic is to turn you from the thing that will not be taken from you cause you to busy yourself with things that you cannot hold onto. Things that will perish. Discover the power the gospel brings of trusting in what cannot be lost.
One last thing we learn here from Martha, is the important place of going to the the Lord with your struggles. Martha doesn’t seem to get it, but she goes to the Lord. In John 11 she is a bold and theologically sound disciple.
If motherhood is overwhelming to you, trust God, simplify life, and sit at Jesus feet. There is just one thing you need to do. Turn to Christ. Delight in him, treasure him, and be faithful with what he says to do. You can’t control others, but you can control yourself. You may have Martha’s yelling at you, and it’s OK. The Lord might tell them to quiet.
- What is Martha’s problem? What is the solution Jesus gives?
- How is Mary an example of following Jesus?
- How can you be more like Mary? How can you help others move from distractions to trust in Jesus?