Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Bethany Bullet - January 6, 2015

Soon if not already, your Christmas tree will be put away, the lights will be packed up, the wreath boxed and the busy season of Christmas will be in the rear view window.  But let’s be honest, does it really get any less busy?

We all live crazy busy lives.  If your calendar is like mine, it is filled to capacity with events and obligations, meetings and commitments and I just hope there are some moments left for my family, my marriage, and myself.

Pride in a job well done is often times all the encouragement I need to fill my calendar to capacity. We have been taught that pride in a job well done is a good thing.  I could say it another way, perhaps even more honest…If I don’t stay busy, I feel guilty. Pride is what we have, right? Vanity is what others have. 

I enjoy the acclaim and the approval for being busy.  I try to work hard to please everyone and I desire to be the best, and often I am left feeling like I am missing something.  I’m proud at the work I put in, but perhaps pride is what is getting in the way.

Now, I know that it is by grace that I have been saved, through faith, and it is not anything that I have done, but… it seems that there are always expectations of behavioral codes or ecclesiastical dues that, when not achieved, leave me feeling that salvation is not as sure-footed as it once was.

Have you felt the same? 

It is one of Satan’s subtle lies that tells us that we need to work more or work harder, and when we don’t we feel guilty. Our pride gets the best of us and soon we have lost sight of the cross of Christ. 

Martin Luther considered pride the mother sin of man.  He once wrote, “The world considers this vice the highest virtue…The world is permeated by this poison of striving after praise and glory…The world says that those who are not moved by praise and glory neither are, nor can become, men of power and worth, but those who are considered the best who disregard everything, body and life, friend and possession, in order to win praise and glory.” 

Benjamin Franklin in his autobiography said it this way, “There is perhaps no one of our natural possessions so hard to subdue as pride.  Beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive.  Even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”

Our text from Sunday, speaks to this as well.  If you have your Bibles, open them to Luke the 10th chapter; we start at verse 38, “As they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to him talk.  But Martha was upset about all the work she had to do. So she asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things.  There’s only one thing you need. Mary has made the right choice, and that one thing will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

Martha was a wonderful servant.  She had an eye for detail, but perhaps her pride was in overdrive as she was crazy busy as the Lord came to her house that day.

Martha was so focused on her work, she lost sight of Christ.  Jesus Himself was sitting in her living room and she was too busy for Him. 

In our crazy busy lives, Christ can get pushed to the fringes, can become something that has its time and place, but is not center stage.

Other times we feel that we have to be so busy in the life of faith that we sink in our own service and in the myriad of volunteer hours we forget to focus on Christ.

How often have you worked so hard at something, trying to please everyone and wanting to be the best at everything?

Is your crazy busy life responsible for your own pride to be in overdrive?

Theologian and author C.S. Lewis called pride “the great sin” and is the name of a chapter in his work titled Mere Christianity.  He goes on to say, Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere flea bites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind… it is Pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” (Mere Christianity, p. 109)

In our text we see that Martha’s intentions are good, but soon Pride swept in and set her focus on her own actions.  She even tries to drag Jesus into it, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

For all of the times you have given in to pride, there is one thing that seems to be lacking.  That is communion with Christ. 

Martha was busy preparing; Mary sat at the feet of Jesus. 
Martha thought she was doing what was right.
Jesus reminded her that it was OK to sit at his feet, to just be in His presence.

Are you crazy busy?  Then it is time to sit at the feet of Jesus.  You may be up in the balcony, but here, in this place, you are down at the feet of Jesus.

As the Spirit gathers us for worship, our pride is stripped away and we can look to the cross and encounter the One who came for all sinners, Jesus our Savior who says to you, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

This week the church pauses to celebrate Epiphany, the day we remember the Magi from the east who came to visit Jesus.  I’m sure their lives were crazy busy too, they were very important people in their own land, but they worshiped at the feet of Jesus.
It was the work of Jesus on the cross that is the only activity that matters.  He took your pride and self-centeredness and nailed it to the cross. 

He comes to you in bread and in wine and asks you to simply kneel at His feet once again and see that renewal and direction come from Him.

Here, in this place we are transformed for His glory, not our own.  Soli Deo Gloria!  To God ALONE be the glory.

Theologian Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “Be not proud of race, face, place or grace.”

Here in this place we see the face of Jesus who comes to us in grace so that with the whole human race we will find our place in heaven. 

On that wonderful day when we are called home, our crazy busy lives will give way to the peace of eternity in heaven.  It is with profound thanks that we come here today, for here your pride gives way to peace because of Christ.

-Pastor Seth Moorman


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