I’m really happy to be here, and I’m happy to see all y’all smiling faces. We had a little family update that I
wanted to give you. Actually, a few people thought that was me. Like, a picture of me and this. Three
weeks ago, my daughter, my youngest child, got engaged. Oof. I mean, like, full circle moment there. You
know, you raise them for this moment, and then you’re like, whoa, it’s here. Anyway, so we are super
excited about that. The wedding is August 2, and I’m already like, I don’t know what I’m doing, but we’ll
see. We’ll see.
This is week three of building a strong family. Look at the picture there. Some of you will probably relate to
what that is. That mom just kind of waving up there. Come on, hurry. At a practice, I mean, that is how we
spend many, many years of our life as a mom, isn’t it?
So I was getting my nails done a few weeks ago, and my nail lady asked me a question that she had
asked me before. So you don’t work. What do you do all day? Well, I started listing a few of the things that
I do, like reading, writing, studying, doing this. I saw the look on her face, and I knew what was coming.
You just sound lazy to me, is what she said.
Some people are embarrassed to say they’re busy. I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not. Now, there was a
time in my life that I did work, and I did have three active kids to raise and committees to run, lunches to
make, homework to help with, practices to get to play, dates to arrange, and now I don’t. But the point
remains: culture says busy is good and slow is bad. A frantic pace is applauded and rewarded, and some
people wear it as a badge of honor. I don’t know what you’ve done today, but chances are, whether it was
real estate or finding lost blankies, you were already busy this morning. Yet if we get down to the nitty
gritty, I think we’d say at least a lot of the time that we are hurried and frustrated and exhausted. And what
tends to be the first thing to go when that happens?
I paid them to say that time with Jesus.
John Ortberg, who is a pastor and teacher, said this. I love it. For many of us, the great danger is not that
we will renounce our faith. It’s that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will
settle for a mediocre version of it. Our scripture today is Luke 10: 38-42. We hear the story of two women
who knew and loved Jesus well, respond to the presence of Jesus in their home very differently. I’m going
to read it now.
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha
opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, Lord,
don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.
Martha. Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are
needed, or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We know how important it is to slow down. We know how vital it is to take care of ourselves so that what
our family needs from us is overflowing, you know, out of the excess in our hearts.
But interestingly enough, according to a Barna study, when women were asked to give their top seven
ways, they practiced self care, praying and connecting with God were the last two. But yet, in this
passage we just read, Jesus said, only one thing matters, that there is a better part, and we want that. I’m
sure I could speak for all of us in this room. We all want an intimate relationship with the Lord.
We want to spend time on our knees before him, praying and studying God’s word. We all live in the
tension of wanting a close relationship with Jesus, but also getting done what has to get done, otherwise
known as life? The question for today’s lesson is this. Am I a Mary or a Martha, or should I be a little of
both? And how do I balance those if I should?
I want to set the stage by mentioning that certain personalities and bents lend themselves to being more
of one than the other. Martha was probably created with the gift of hospitality, while Mary may have been
a more reserved introvert. Naturally. Notice Jesus did not say, Martha, Martha, why can’t you be more like
your sister? That wasn’t even what he wanted. But when the two of them were faced with the choice to
work in the kitchen or to worship, Mary chose the better part. This implies that the better part was
available to both.
It was a choice they each had to make, and this is important. It was probably easier for one than it was for
the other. The same goes for us in life. Depending on our strengths and weaknesses, our personalities,
our schedules, we work. We don’t work. Our stages of life, we will all struggle with being still, for one
reason or another in our life. Yet in doing so, we find our answer. Jesus fills our empty tanks as Annie
talked about last week, he satisfies our deepest longings, and he directs our steps as we seek to make a
schedule that honors him and takes care of our family.
The big idea for today’s lesson is strong families balance, work and worship. I want to take the scripture
for today that we just read and break it down into three different parts. And the dilemma, the defense, and
the resulting diamond. The problem, the solution, and the blessing.
And I’m going to toggle between the dilemmas and the defenses. As for the dilemma, there are two
problems that stand out very clearly in this scripture. Hurry and worry. The first one is described here.
The first one is described here.
Martha was distracted with much serving. Can’t you just envision Martha at this time frantically hurrying
around the kitchen, maybe grumbling a bit under her breath because she was left to do it all alone? Does
that sound familiar ever? Yeah, a little background here. Just so we know. This was Jesus and Jesus’
entourage that we’re talking about. This was more than just Jesus and the twelve disciples. And some
people believe that it could have been upwards of 70 people in her living room, and they were hungry,
and somebody had to actually cook the food. But also, this was Jesus in her house. This was the same
Martha.

I love it that later on, when her brother Lazarus died, ran to find Jesus because she knew the power and
the wisdom that he held. And he was in her living room talking. She knew, and she still chose to hurry
around. And there was Martha, I mean, Mary, sorry. Sitting at his feet, soaking up every word Jesus said.
And to add a layer of significance to this, it was frowned upon at this time for a woman to sit in a room full
of men, being taught by a man, a rabbi. And Mary was not hiding back in the corner, just kind of listening
like that. She was front row, boldly sitting at the feet of Jesus she knew, and she chose to stop and sit.
Guys, we know this. Satan is big on using busyness and distraction in our lives. He’s been using this
subterfuge since the very beginning of time with Adam and Eve. And why does he use it? Because it
works. It really, really works. He knows that if we’re distracted doing all the things and being everywhere,
we need to be, possibly there’s a good chance we’re not going to hear Jesus calling.
And if we do, we’ll be less likely to heed his calling. Ladies, what Martha was actually doing was not the
problem. Serving, working, doing your jobs, keeping your children alive and getting things done, those are
not the problem. The problem was Jesus was in her house preaching and she missed it because she was
too distracted. And because she was too distracted and hurried, she became irritable and upset. Ever
happened to anyone? Any of you?
I love this quote. The leaders are going through a book. What is it? The ruthless elimination of hurry. And I
love this quote.
I kind of paraphrased a little bit in it. Love, joy and peace are at the heart of Jesus’ kingdom vision. All
three are more than just emotions. They are overall conditions of the heart. They’re not just pleasant
feelings. They’re the kinds of people we become through time spent with Jesus, who embodied all three.
And this is the most important part. All three are incompatible with hurry.
Something that I know, we all know, is one of our biggest distractions is our phones. I read the other day
that the average iPhone user touches his or her phone an average of 2617 times a day. That is just too
much. Our phones are intentionally engineered to cause an addiction. It’s supposed to be that way. That’s
how the men behind it are creating it. To me, that is maddening and it is scary and it’s dangerous. We
somehow have got to break the cycle of turning to our phones every moment of the day. And we need to
train our children to do the same. Phones are dangerous for them. My husband and I were very strict. We
obviously, with one of mine getting engaged, mine are grown and gone. But we were very, very strict with
our kids phones.
We waited a very long time, maybe until like, they were 16, 15-16 before they got their phones. And then
they had to turn their phones in every night by 10:00 p.m. Until their 18th birthday. And so on their 18th
birthday, that was their biggest birthday gift. We gave them their phone to be free to regulate their own
time with it and what they watched and looked at, the thing that culture reaches for, the distraction of
social media, our busy schedules. This sounds harsh, but they don’t give a rip about you or me.

They don’t. They don’t care about your joy or your health, your stress or your family, your ability to bear
fruit or your emotional well being. They don’t care, but God does. We cannot afford to stay busy and
distracted anymore. Our very lives are on the line. And the life that God wants for our families.
Hurry is sinking sand. It is sinking sand. But, guys, God has given us a mighty defense. It’s found in what
he says in that scripture. Few things are needed, or indeed, only one. Mary has chosen what is better. He
has given us an open ended invitation to come sit before the throne of God and ask him for help. Here are
two hurry defenses for the chaos of a fast paced life.
Invite Jesus to rule and reign. You know, a lot of us have asked Jesus to be our savior, but have we made
him our lord of every moment and every day? Every morning before you get out of bed, I implore you to
do this before your feet touch the floor. Ask for his wisdom and guidance for the day. Ask him to be on the
throne of your life for that day, to be your one thing, and then rest in the joy and the peace of surrendering
your schedule to him.
The second thing is to pray to hunger and thirst for his righteousness. Matthew 5:6 says this. “Blessed are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”.And I say this because I believe
due to the culture around us, we’re kind of trained to be hungry and thirsty for things that will not
ultimately satisfy. I love this quote. The only way I’ve learned to change my hunger is to change my mind
about what I’m hungry for.
It needs to be said of us. The only way to change my appetite for my phone and for a frantic pace of life is
to hunger and thirst for him. And this is another thing that I think is so important. Put a note card by your
bedside that says, pray to hunger and thirst for more of him. Say that at the beginning of your day.
The second dilemma is worry. Martha. Jesus says to Martha, Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset
about many things. I wonder how she felt in that moment. If Jesus looked at you and said, jess, you are
worried and upset about many things, it would stop you in your tracks.
Worry is worthless, it’s been said. I liked this analogy, that worry is like a rocking chair. You go back and
forth, back and forth, back and forth, but you get nowhere. It serves no purpose. In one set of statistics, it
indicated that there’s absolutely nothing we can do. About 70% of the things that we worry about but
worry, anxiety and maybe even depression, they come from busyness and distraction. We know this. We
know it’s fruitless to worry. Yet we spend a lot of time ruminating about things in our minds, don’t we?
Going over them and over them again and again, giving them way too much power and space in our
brain. Who of you have ever kind of had this thought? Like, I have got to worry about this? Worry is what
is holding me together. If I stop worrying about this, I’m going to fall apart. And so is everything around
me. Yeah. Yeah. Not true, though. Not true. Interesting.
The word most often used for worry in the New Testament comes from the same Greek word. No idea
how to say it, but it’s meridzo, which means to be divided, to pull in opposite directions, to choke. God
knows that worry short circuits our relationship with him because it fixes our eyes on the problem and not

him. Worry is worthless. Moving on. Worry chokes out our faith. We’re busy and we’re distracted. The
pace of life gets overwhelming. Our eyes come off of God, and then we begin to apply our own adequacy
or inadequacy to do something about it, which causes us then to worry and get irritable and worry. And
we know this, if left unchecked, can turn into doubt. Notice Martha asked Jesus, Lord, do you not care?
Ever felt that way?
That is another one of Satan’s great tactics. If he can get you to doubt God’s love and God’s goodness,
he knows he’s got an end. It’s a slippery slope, unfortunately, from doubt to unbelief. You can’t really trust
God. He doesn’t really love you. I mean, look at what you’ve done. He doesn’t have your best interests at
heart. He’s trying to keep something from you. Those lies are from the enemy. Commanding us not to
worry and then giving us consequences when we do is for our own protection. Worry doesn’t prevent
things from happening, and it definitely can prevent us from living the full, abundant life that he had for us.
So some of you might be thinking right now, Julie, there are some really, really big, hard things going on in
my life right now. And true, there are opportunities around every corner for fear, anxiety and worry. When
Jesus told us not to worry, he wasn’t saying, just ignore your problems. You know, you’ve got Jesus. It
doesn’t matter. You can do this. Saying, live in la la land. He knows. He sees people hurt each other
deeply. People have hurt you deeply.
Dysfunction and sometimes abuse reside in many families. Marriages get excruciating and they
sometimes fail. Bad things happen to really good people. There are opportunities for pain all around us
and things that actually require concern and action on our part. There’s a difference in worry and concern.
Take your concerns to him. Pray about them, but don’t ruminate over them. And in about three weeks, I’m
going to be teaching again on how to get out of your head. How to get out of our heads. I know that’s
something that I need to hear. We can’t afford to worry anymore. Our lives, as I said earlier, and the lives
of our family are on the line. Worry, like hurry is sinking sand.
He gives us a defense against worry. You know Philippians 4:8, the verse that says, be anxious for
nothing. That means not even one thing. And I love. I think I changed it in my hard copy here. So y’all
may know. Joni Erickson. Tada. She is the writer and speaker and painter that was… Do you all know
who she is? She was paralyzed from diving off a cliff into shallow water. She’s a quadriplegic, and she
paints with her mouth, her words. She is in agonizing pain almost on a daily basis, and this prevents her
from going to sleep very easily.
So what she has decided to do when she’s anxious and she’s wanting to worry about where she is, she
starts listing praises, and she will go on and on, over and over again as she cannot sleep, listing things
that she loves about Jesus, that she knows about him, that he is to her. And I think it’s really sweet. She
says when she wakes up in the morning after doing that, she actually feels joy, refreshed instead of
worried and frazzled.

So that’s the first thing. Be anxious for nothing. Not even one thing. Start listing praises. The second
thing, pray about everything. If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times. This wasn’t something my dad.
I mean, I think he must have said it to me every day of my growing up life, and I still hear it. Worry about
nothing. Pray about everything. Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. Worry about nothing. Pray
about everything.
And the third way to choose the better part is to be thankful. I think thankfulness is something that we
often forget and take for granted. But gratitude is important because it changes our attitudes when we
express to God something that we’re thankful for, even when we’re not feeling it. Something shifts inside
of us and we’re able to see the world. The problem, whatever it is, through eyes of faith and worry, has to
flee.
Which leads us to the resulting diamond. This comes from the part of the scripture. I loved this. It was so
sweet. That says, and it will not be taken away from her. I immediately, for some reason, thought of a
diamond when I thought about this scripture. Because when we have withstood the pressure of our
culture around us and we’ve made decisions for ourselves and our families to prioritize Jesus, we are left
with blessings and rewards that cannot be taken away from us. They are eternal.
For my husband and I, when my kids were growing up, we made the decision to keep our kids in youth
group until they finished high school. And that was not a popular opinion because it was on Sunday
nights.It encroached on family time. And that was also when students were, you know, mad crunching to
get all of their studying and their homework done. We made them get up on Saturday mornings to do that.
But it was a sacrifice that Kevin and I were willing to make. It might not be youth group, whatever it is that
you have your kids in, but as your kids get older and as the culture is as busy as it is, having your kids in,
anything like that will be a very unpopular opinion. And this is important even sometimes by your kids.
Very much so. We gave them skip days.
The pressure to be busy, distracted, worried and irritable is a trap from Satan and something that only
time with Jesus can cure. I read this when I was studying for this lesson. It gave me chills the first time I
read it.
“We are as intimate with God as we choose to be. The only limitations of God’s presence in our lives are
the limits that we ourselves set. The excuses we set up to avoid being filled to the measure of God.
Martha’s excuse was duty. She had cleaning and cooking to do. She didn’t think she had time to sit at
Jesus’ feet. Perhaps your excuse is children or work. Or maybe like me, and I mean that the only excuse
you really have for devotional delinquency, love that phrase, is sheer laziness.
But whatever it is, whatever keeps us from spending regular time with God, it is sin. Does it sound harsh
to say that cooking or cleaning or taking care of children or doing your job might be sinful? But think about
it. The very definition of sin is separation from God. So no matter how important the activity, no matter
how good it seems, if I use it as an excuse to hold God at arm’s length it is a sin. I need to confess it and

repent of it so that I can draw close to the Lord once again. Because the longer I go without being filled
with God’s presence, the drier and the emptier and the more frustrated I’m going to become.”
Notice something about Martha. She may seem a little huffy, and she probably was, but truly, kudos to
her. She went straight to the Lord with her feelings and even her complaints, which we’re not technically
supposed to do. She brought her worries to the Lord and then waited. Waited for what he had to say. And
Jesus loved her too much to not tell her the truth about her behavior.
This one small action on Mary’s part showed that she had the humility to be teachable. And that is huge.
We don’t know the end of this story, but we do know that Jesus said spending time with him at his feet is
the answer. I came up with four diamonds, I believe that come from spending time with him as it relates to
going against today’s culture. The first one is this.
These are the things that are set in stone. We recognize Satan’s strategies, and this is important because
he’s going to appear to us as an angel of light. Like certain activities that your kids need to be in, private
sessions that they need to have, different things that we need to buy. You know but when we spend time
with Jesus, we’re able to recognize these strategies sooner.
The second is you have the strength to stand alone. And when going against the culture, as far as
busyness and distraction is concerned, you will stand alone. Sometimes you really will. And the older your
kids get, I’m just promising you now, the fewer and fewer people will be standing around you making
those choices. But in spending time with him, you have strength to stand alone.
The third thing is it helps you move past things. We’re going to be offended. People are going to hurt our
feelings. People are not going to understand why we’re making certain decisions for our families about
the culture. And it’s going to be frustrating. You might have a tendency. You want to worry and stress and
get angry. But time with Jesus helps us move past those feelings quicker.
And the fourth is this. He gives us rest. Doesn’t that word just sound lovely? Jesus says in Matthew 11:28,
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This was the same Mary, I
loved this. This Mary that was at his feet is the same Mary that we read about later on who knelt before
Jesus and poured out all of her perfume on his feet and then wiped it with her long hair. This might have
been that perfume, all that she had left in life.
People around her could not believe what she was doing. I mean, it was a big deal, what she gave him,
but she knew. She knew he was worth every bit of sacrifice that she made for him. Yesterday, when I was
trying to write the conclusion for this message, the Lord kept giving me a picture of the wall of Jericho.
Joshua and the Israelites were stuck behind a seemingly insurmountable wall.
They needed the big, huge, massive wall to come down so that they could do what Jesus had asked them
to do, what the Lord had asked them to do, which was conquer the city of Jericho. They sought God for
the answer, and he gave them the solution. And as they followed his orders, the walls came down, and

they went in and did what they were supposed to do. Ladies, the issues of busyness and distraction,
especially when your kids get a little bit older, some of you work versus worship, iPhones and social
media, they are seemingly insurmountable walls with no way to get through or over. But Jesus is our
defender and the one who knows the way forward.
I encourage you to seek the Lord. Spend time with him every day. Pray big, bold, huge prayers for
yourself, for your spouse, for your children, and then follow his direction, no matter who around you is not
doing the same. We won’t do it perfectly, and you’re gonna fall and stumble a lot, and it won’t look pretty.
But in the end, his way will prevail.
It really does.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, with you, all things are possible. Big, huge, insurmountable walls you may
come tumbling down. So, Father, teach us to seek you for direction in what we do with the issues of
busyness and distraction and worry and upsetness. Father, help us to hunger and thirst for more of you.
Give us the strength to do that. We give you the right to rule and reign in our lives. I ask that you would
bless this group as they go to their groups and that the group time would be wonderful and the talk would
be good. In Christ’s name, amen.

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