One thing

Homily – Sunday, the 17th July 2022

Reading Luke 10:38-42
view the Order of Service here

38 Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ 41 But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; 42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’


Are we worried about many things in our lives?

Are we distracted about many things in our lives?

Are we confused about the right choices in life?

Perhaps, we need to look at the situation of Martha

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
― Corrie Ten Boom

Jesus and his disciples were on a journey, and they entered a certain village- Bethany- where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Yes it was Martha who welcomed Jesus into their home.

This Martha, was the sister of Mary and Lazarus and their home is the central space of three instances in the Bible. One here where Jesus comes in to share a meal, one when Jesus was part of their tears and performed the miracles of bringing Lazarus to life where some profound discussions happen with Martha who says- if you were here my brother would not have died to which Jesus responded Only Believe you will see the glory of God and one when Mary pours out her costly oil as an extravaganza of thanksgiving before the Lord immediately after the incident of Lazarus coming out of the tomb.

Let us look at the picture carefully once more in the text. As Jesus entered the house Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying.

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ 

Jesus answered her ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

What was Jesus telling Martha

What is Jesus telling each one of us as we read and meditate on the text today.

Do Not Be Disturbed

It is when we are disturbed that we tend to complain. We cannot say that Martha’s concern was wrong. One of the two sisters who should be helping out in the kitchen is sitting as if it was not her concern at all. Yes the meals had to be prepared for Jesus and the friends. There is quite of lot that is part of the hospitality she offered and it is natural she expected help. But when help does not come from people you expect it is natural that you are disturbed. Martha was.

Do not be discouraged or disappointed

When others do not behave the way you expect that should be truly worrisome. Martha’s expectation would have been different than what she saw. Here is Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus keenly listening to what he was saying. Martha was disappointed.

This frustration, this disappointment is part of our every day lives in different manifestations

This is not the way I expect my partner to behave, my pastor to behave, my children to behave, my parents to behave, my colleagues to behave, my siblings to behave, my congregation to behave

If we are discouraged by the behaviour of others then we must listen carefully to this text.

Do not be distressed

Stress is an important ingredient in life that could take away all the joy from what we are doing. Cooking could be stressful. Preparing the home to serve a meal to a guest could be stressful, and for that matter anything that we do could be stressful. It is this stress that found expression in Martha’s words to Jesus- Lord do you not care.

It is said stress does not come from your boss, your spouse, your

child or from health challenges or traffic jams, financial conditions or other situations. It comes only from your responses from your circumstances.

Easop says- A crust eaten in peace is far tastier than the best banquet in stress.

“The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.”
― Rick Warren

Do not be distracted

Martha was distracted by many things. And I am sure we are all familiar with the situation- being distracted by many things.

Imagine even offering hospitality or a meal- there are many things- the home must be prepared, the menu must be decided, the shopping must be done, the time needed to cook the meal should be ascertained, the interests of the guests- likings and disliking must be considered, the number of people accompanying should be taken into account, the wine cellar need to be checked. Unlike our times internet shopping and home delivery was not available then. All these apart from the regular work you are engaged in which in itself could be a hat-full. When you do one thing you think of another and you are distracted by many things such that instead of enjoying what you are doing you are distracted by many things.

“Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not be deceived

Life is full of choices- Jesus affirms- Mary has chosen the right path. Choosing correctly is very important.

Nelson Mandela often reminded us that it should be our hopes that define our choices not our fears. We have heard that the three C’s that determine our journey are choices, chances and changes. Unless you choose to take the right chances there will be no change.

Mary weighed the options. She was confident that her sister is capable enough to handle the kitchen. Hospitality also included being with the guest, listening to the guest and in this case learning from Jesus the great teacher.

Our life is the result of the choices we make and if we are not enjoying our lives we should be reviewing the way we make our choices.

And the crucial question for me is- Is there a God thought in our choices. It is easy to be flabbergasted by externalities and say this is the right choice. But do we often ask- If this is the choice that is central in God’s plans for my life.

My friends, the best lesson we could learn from this text is this approval from Jesus- Mary chose right.

Do not be disinformed

There is in fact need of only one thing- What is that one thing, That is the key information that you require to make life meaningful.

“Each moment of worry, anxiety or stress represents lack of faith in miracles, for they never cease.”

Each time we are called to make the next step in life there are several factors that we normally consider. There is nothing wrong in proper reading of the decisions and the consequences.

But the key question is where is God in all of these.

Given a choice the joy of sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to what Jesus would say is crucial.

We are all distracted with the busy world that very seldom do people have time with God- alone and with the family- for that One thing.

We have enough time for intellectual exercises and physical exercises but not for meditation on the Word and learning the Scriptures. We equip the children to face the challenges of the job markert for their future but not to face the storms of life- claiming trusting the storm into the hands of Jesus.

The right information- the one thing- that is important.

What did the preacher preach today? It was about the one thing that Mary chose. Well what was that? That’s what I should find out now.

Do not be disappointed

Some choices can have an impact that can never be taken away from you. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her. Temporariness of our decisions and the permanence of our decisions are important to understand. If you seriously think about it- what are your three biggest worries now?

“Things that you worry about today don’t even matter in long run.”

Some of our decisions have far reaching impact on us and on others. These could be any decisions about our lives, our career, our family and so on

But some decisions have eternal consequences and that is the decision you make about the space for God in your lives.

The love of God that would constrain you to do good that is beyond what can be imagined of our lives

Life is far beyond your present worries and frustrations.

And the message is Don’t Worry

Robert McFerin senior the Afro-American singer reminds us

Here’s a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don’t worry, be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy
Don’t worry, be happy now

Ain’t got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don’t worry, be happy
The landlord say your rent is late
He may have to litigate
Don’t worry, be happy

Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style
Ain’t got no gal to make you smile
Don’t worry, be happy
‘Cause when you worry your face will frown
And that will bring everybody down
So don’t worry, be happy

Robert McFerin

But how do we do it

Seek ye first the kingdom of God
And His righteousness;
And all these things shall be added unto you.

Man does not live by bread alone,
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God.

Ask, and it shall be given unto you;
Seek, and ye shall find.
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

Vinod Victor

June 17, 2022

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