You remember the story from Luke’s gospel about Martha and her sister Mary, don’t you?
Luke 10:38-42 says, ” Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. And she had a sister called Mary, who moreover was listening to the Lord’s word, seated at His feet. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him, and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (NAS)
Martha was the one who was concerned with serving and honoring Christ through hospitality, particularly through the preparation of a meal. Mary was the one who wanted to honor Christ by simply sitting with Him and listening to Him teach. In responding to Martha, Christ commended Mary, because in the precious hours she had with Christ, she chose to be with Him. Indeed, the greatest desire and pursuit of any disciple of Christ should be close fellowship with Him. To love God as the first priority of our lives is the greatest commandment, and it is not just incidental that our ultimate inheritance as believers is an eternity in perfect fellowship with our Lord.
I have no doubt that later in the evening, Martha and Mary and Jesus and the disciples enjoyed the delicious meal that Martha prepared. While fellowship with Christ was the first priority, service to Christ was also necessary and valued and blessed. We see the same reality when we consider the wider scope of the disciple’s life with Christ. We know from Scripture that they did not permanently sit at His feet during His time upon earth. They also traveled with Him throughout the countryside, ministering, healing, casting out demons, and calling people to repentance. In other words, they did not simply sit and learn, they also were very active in serving and teaching others.
That same kind of balance is needed in the local church; more specifically, it is needed here at Morningview. By the grace of Christ, one of the greatest strengths of our congregation is our teaching ministry. We are blessed with teachers who study diligently and proclaim the meat of the Word in our Bible Study classes on Sunday morning. It is always a joy to learn from dedicated servants, to grow in our understanding of Scripture and the great doctrines of our faith. However, we are not meant to sit at the feet of great teachers forever. Part of our maturity as disciples develops as we go forth to serve and apply and impart to others that which we have learned at the feet of Christ. In other words, it is great to be a Mary, but it is also great and necessary to be a Martha.
One of the particular needs we have here at Morningview is with our children and preschool. As I have told you before, on a regular basis, over 40% of our Sunday morning attendance is under age 18. We are a young church with many young families. That means we have a large number of children and preschoolers. Thankfully, we are blessed with many excellent teachers and workers in these areas. They are dedicated men and women who serve the families of our church by caring for our little ones and imparting the gospel to them. Many of them have been serving in this area for a number of years. However, these faithful servants also need time to fellowship with a class of their peers and enjoy the rich teaching of the Word.
I know you can see where I am going with this — It is time for many of us to rise up from sitting at the feet of our Sunday School teachers and go into service, particularly in our children’s and preschool areas. It is time to honor our brothers and sisters who have been serving us by allowing them a season to sit, fellowship, and be fed the meat of the Word. And we who have been learning must joyfully take up the mantle of service. Our little ones are a precious stewardship; they are the next generation of disciples and the future leaders of Morningview. Having dedicated disciples who will faithfully impart the Gospel to them is absolutely critical.
It is great to be a Mary, but we still need Marthas. Will you heed the call to service? Will you now pass on the blessing of what you have learned?