Today’s Scripture:  Luke 10:41-42

(41)  And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:  (42)  But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Introduction:

Are you as surprised as I am to see this as one of the “Christian” Christmas Carols?  I guess that we really shouldn’t be surprised, however.  I am looking forward to seeing what this carol can teach us, and how we can apply the message in the song to our walk with God.

Today’s Video:

I Always Enjoyed Kenny G’s music…and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas one of his best pieces.

 

Today’s Message:  “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Let your heart be light.

From now on, our troubles will be out of sight.

How is it that our troubles can be out of sight?  How can our hearts be light?  It’s not easy to see how the story of Mary and Martha can be added to the Christmas story, but when you think of the hustle and bustle of the holiday’s (starting with Thanksgiving)…it’s easy to see how we can become distracted and so busy like Martha was.

We all have jobs that we have to go to work for.  We still have the daily things and chores to do.  We have Christmas shopping to do, and once we have the gifts we have to wrap them (and hide them from snooping kids or spouses).  We have dinners to make, Christmas parties to plan or attend, and maybe for the first time in months…a desire to return to church…after all…Christmas is about Jesus.

We can become so busy and overwhelmed by life that we forget the most important thing of all…the thing that Mary understood as the single most important thing.  Sitting at the feet of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the last message, I talked about the importance of spending time in God’s presence, and how that we need to find that place where we don’t lose the awe that we have of our relationship with Him.  Mary understood that.  Even in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of having Jesus as a house guest…Mary understood that there was a time to serve…and a time to be served…and we all need to understand the same thing.  We cannot minister to anyone if we aren’t first ministered to ourselves.

If we’re starving spiritually…we cannot feed anyone.  Mary understood that, and it’s one of the things we need to understand as well.  Sitting at the feet of Jesus is something that we all must do…if Jesus said that Mary found the one thing that is needful…then that means it’s needful for all of us.  I don’t know about you, but when Jesus talks about something being the most important thing…I think we ought to listen…and do what He says is important…Amen!?!

Christmas can seem like a rat race at times. There is all of the hectic last-minute shopping at crowded malls while struggling to find the perfect gift for someone, the decorating the house (including checking every single bulb on the strand of lights to find the one at the very end that shorted out the rest), wrapping present after present after present, or preparing for the family to come and take over the house for the day. It is easy to get lost in the busyness of Christmas, and to miss the things that are really important.

Before you ask…no I didn’t read the devotion before I started writing, but a good way to know if we’re on the right page with God is everyone basically seems to say the same things.  I think if we’re honest, we can expand the rat race to the pre-Thanksgiving plans can’t we?  Like I said a moment ago, there’s planning where the meals are going to be, whose all going to be able to make it, and thus the rat race of the Holiday’s begins…and it doesn’t end until New Year’s.

In addition to our normal lives, we add Christmas shopping, getting a Christmas tree, putting up the decorations, making out Christmas cards, Christmas parties, wrapping Christmas gifts, and then some.  There’s so much that goes into Christmas.  Not only do we have our families to shop for, but many of us have company Christmas parties to attend and shop for.

You know, when I think of Martha running around so busy when Jesus came to visit…it actually is a great illustration of what happens to us during the holiday’s…and why instead of being a time of relaxation and fellowship…many of us wind up tired and exhausted.  The busyness of the season is such that it can sap the joy, and very rest from our lives.

You see, it’s the commercialization of Christmas that’s made it such an easy thing for the devil to get us distracted, and that’s why we need reminders that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.  I’m in that boat too.  I’m not immune to being distracted by the busyness of the world…you know being in ministry is a lot like preparing for the holiday’s.

Do you know that I believe the reason most in ministry get burned out is because they’re all a bunch of Martha’s?  They are involved in so much, and many of them (myself included)can get so busy that we forget that what’s even more important than the work we do is the time we spend with the Lord.  We become so busy, and we mistake doing the work of the ministry as being in the presence of the Lord.  We all need to remember to be more like Mary…and take the time to sit at the feet of Jesus.

It’s hard to say that we shouldn’t be too busy to spend time with the Lord, but the truth is…there’s nothing more important than spending time with the Lord.  How do I know that?  I know it because Jesus said there’s one thing that is needful that will never be taken away from us.  We need to take time to be “continually filled”, and to sit at the feet of the Master for ourselves…and that includes the busyness of life and preparations for the holiday’s.

We see this happen in the book of Luke, when Jesus goes to eat in the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. Martha spends her time running around cooking, serving dinner, and cleaning, which are very good things, but are busy things. Meanwhile, Mary sits in the company of Jesus. When Martha asks Jesus to tell her to work too, He tells her that, “”Mary has chosen what is better.”

Jesus spoke of the third kind of soil being that as soil that has the Word of God choked out of them by the cares of the world.  We see this in Martha as she’s frantically trying to put together something to offer Jesus, but Mary offers Him something more.  Which brings me to this point:  Our time with the Lord is more important than what we do for the Lord.

Listen, I don’t know about anyone else in ministry, but I NEED to spend time at the feet of Jesus.  I can’t even write good messages if I don’t spend time with Jesus.  I can’t be any thing close to what and who God wants me to be…apart from spending time with Jesus.  I need the hem of His robe.  I need that better thing…because at the feet of Jesus is where I am ministered to by Him.  That’s where I get what I need from Him, and if I neglect spending time with Him there…that’s when my life starts getting out of whack…and I wind up being out of balance.

I don’t have perfect balance in my life, but when I neglect time at the feel of Jesus…I find myself more like Martha than I do Mary.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I want to be more like Mary.  I want to find more time to be like Mary…and sit at Jesus’ feet.  I NEED to find more time to sit at the feet of Jesus…How about you!?!

Jesus is trying to tell us to live in the moment. It is great that you are willing to be like Martha, and make sure that all of the popcorn is strung up, but it is not worth missing the opportunity to have a real conversation with a family member you don’t see often, or when your child’s face lights up because Santa indeed got that letter and delivered exactly what they asked for. It is not about all that we have to do, the list of things we have check off, but it is all about the moment.

“Live in the moment.”.  That’s so easy to say isn’t it?  It’s so easy to lose track of time, isn’t it?  I mean there are times where it’s Friday, and it feels like Monday was just yesterday.  I have to admit that I’m not very good at living in the moment because there’s many more times that I realize time just gets away from me.  I find that happens more often the less time I spend with Jesus like Mary.  When I run around like Martha it’s easy to allow life to get out of whack and unbalanced, but when I am able to slow down like Mary for the opportunity to sit with the Lord…I’m always amazed that time seems to get away from me less.

This year, don’t miss out on what is better. Take the opportunity to enjoy the time you have with friends and family. Take time not to worry about the things you have to do, but to enjoy the people you get to be with. Be present where you are, because that is what is better, and have yourself a merry little Christmas.

That’s something I was able to do with Thanksgiving, and something I’m trying to continue to do whether it’s a holiday or not.  Slow down, and enjoy life.  It’s hard to do, but it’s important.  I’ve heard it said that there’s not one person on their death-bed who wishes they would’ve spent more time working.  Most of them, I would imagine all wish that they would’ve spent more time with their families.

I don’t want to be on my death-bed before I realize I spent too much time working, and being busy.  Do you?  I’ve also heard it said that life isn’t about the years of your life, but the life in your years.  Maybe this is a message being written by someone who is almost 40, and for the better part of my first 40 years, but the older I get the more I realize that life isn’t about stuff.

I wrote this in A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving on my Christlike Ministries NWA Facebook Fan Page:

I think one of the things that I may be most thankful for is the ability to understand that the abundant life isn’t about stuff, but about the stuff that you can’t buy with money.  The exceeding riches of God’s glory is about having a wealth not of material possessions, but of the fruits of the spirit…because there’s a limit to what you can have in the natural…material realm, but there’s unlimited wealth when it comes to matters of the spirit and heart.  The older I get, and the longer I live…the more I realize that the most important things in life to me…are the things that add to the ability to receive and recognize more of the fruits of the spirit in my life…Things like love, peace, joy, forgiveness, long-suffering.

Do you know where understanding like that comes from?  It comes from learning by sitting at the feet of the Master.  God taught me that the abundant life isn’t about material gain, but about growth as a mature believer.  The exceeding riches of God’s glory has more to do with recognizing that you’re growing the fruits of the spirit in your life, and that the things of the world are less important to you.

The idea of that post was to think of something every day for the month of November that I’m thankful for.  By sitting at the feet of Jesus…it’s those times I can take a reflective look back at life and realize where I was…and where I am today.  It’s how I came to understand another important thing that I wrote in this piece.

Day 26:  I am thankful that I am able to recognize the man that God’s growing me up to be.  I can actually look at myself in the mirror, and like what I see now-a-days.  There was a time when I couldn’t say that, but God’s done such a remarkable work in my life…and maybe the think I’m most thankful for is that He’s not even close to being finished with me yet.  I’m grateful that God is patient and long-suffering with me…and that He’s not shocked when I miss it…and He doesn’t ever throw His hands up in disgust and cast me away…He loves me…and He knows my heart…and I’m so thankful to know that I am His…I know that’s a lot of thankful’s…but most it’s easy to be thankful when you take the time to reflect on who you once were…and who you are today as a result of the grace and mercy and workmanship of God.

I am thankful for being able to sit at the feet of Jesus…because it’s here that He teaches me and molds me and helps me to become who He was designed me to be.  It’s here that He tells me He’s proud of me, and some times He even has to scold me.  It’s here that I’m able to allow the workmanship of His hands to do what He wants…and it’s here that I can take the time to live in the moment.

I know that I need to slow down.  I need to spend more time enjoying life.  I need to spend more time at the feet of Jesus.  I need to spend more time focusing on the better, important, and needful things that Jesus said were important…and that’s something that I am going to focus on.

We only get one opportunity at life…and I don’t know about you…but I’ve wasted enough of mine chasing things that were of lesser value and importance.  It’s time that I spend more time focused on the better things…Amen!?!

Be A Doer…Not Just A Reader:

Today’s assignment is a good one.  I want you to take some time to think about these two questions…maybe take them into that secret place with the Lord…and maybe for the first time ever…or the first time in a long time.  Sit at the feet of the Master…and have Him help you answer these two questions:

What are some things you need to take off the list to make yourself become more like Mary?

What are the better things that you have chosen to be a part of this Christmas?

In Closing:

I think this would be a good message to close with a prayer…Amen!?!  So…let’s pray:

Father, we come before You to sit at Your feet.  Lord, so many of us (myself included) are so busy and flustered with the hustle and bustle of life.  We’re caught up in the rat race, and many of us have had the cares of the world choke out our time with You.  We’ve become Martha’s…so consumed with working, serving, and doing…that we forget that we need to spend time being filled, ministered to, and touched by You.

Lord, I ask You to help us make that list of things that will help us to become more like Mary.  Help us to find the better thing.  Help us, Lord, to find that time to sit at Your feet so that You can love upon us, minister to us, and mold us into the people You desire us to be.

Help us, Oh God, to live in the moments…and instead of being so busy trying to add years to our life…help us to slow down…and learn to add life to our years.  I ask for those who are stretched and stressed that You extend Your hand of love, and remind them that You’ve invited them to give all their cares, concerns and worries to You…in exchange for a lighter load.

Oh, Lord, I pray for us all to learn to enjoy life more, and be less consumed by the things of the world.  Help us to live more, laugh more, love more, and sit at Your feet more.  In Jesus’ name I pray…and ask these things…Amen & Amen

Thank you for joining me today…please come back tomorrow for another message on another song as we count down to Christmas by taking a look at these Christmas Carols…Amen!?!

“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:2)
Blessings & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer
Christlike Ministries NWA