We are embarking on a journey about a topic that is critical to the foundation for your life in Jesus Christ and ministry service. It is the idea of spiritual formation or as we call it, personal spiritual growth. There are several aspects of spiritual formation. I will enumerate those as we go. Our priorities are critical to our spiritual formation. How our priorities work into our lives is a big part of the nature of growing as a Christian. I will begin talking about priorities with scripture that comes from the ministry of Jesus. The text is Luke 10:38-42. Feel free to find the verse and follow along.
At the Home of Martha and Mary
This is a very striking story dealing with close friends of Jesus. Let me provide some background. We know for a fact when Jesus was traveling in his public ministry he had his twelve disciples, but scripture indicates that he sometimes had groups of women that followed them and helped them with their ministry.
They contributed money; they may have done some of the cooking during the long walks between Galilee and Judea, and they helped in other various ways. As Jesus is traveling along, if the women were with him, he may have had up to 20 people with him as he approached Bethany.
They would have all been invited by Mary and Martha to stay with them. This indicates that Mary, Martha, and Lazarus were fairly wealthy people. The average family back then would not have been able to afford to feed and house such a large number of people for the amount of time that Jesus would be there.
In the Mediterranean, the traditional style of eating includes a light breakfast to be served, the large main meal would take place around one o’clock in the afternoon, and then a light evening meal would be served. The meal that would have beenserved in this passage would have been the main meal.
Martha is in the kitchen preparing this meal. Jesus is teaching the people, which may have possibly been a large crowd, about the kingdom of God. Mary the younger sister is not in the hot kitchen with Martha. She is at the feet of Jesus drinking in everything that he has to say. The fatted calf has been killed. The vegetables and bread are being prepared. A desert may have possibly been prepared. Martha is working and sweating, and she notices that Mary is nowhere to be found. She walks out of the kitchen and into the place where Jesus is teaching and finds Mary sitting there listening to Jesus.
Martha stops Jesus in the middle of his teaching and basically says, “Lord, excuse me just a minute. I know what you are doing is important, but you do care, don’t you?” She is asking Jesus, “You do care. Don’t you? That I am knocking myself out in the kitchen while my sister, Mary, the little princess is doing nothing.” Martha stops Jesus with a lot of Jewishchutzpah and poses the problem to Jesus. If this isn’t stringent enough, Martha gives Jesus, the Son of God a command to tell Mary to help in the kitchen. Jesus responds, “Martha, Martha you are worried and bothered about so many things.”
Could this statement apply to your life today?
Jesus goes on to tell Martha that he appreciates all that she has done, but Mary has chosen what is most important and we are not going to take that away from her. There is a massive, major lesson to be learned when Jesus says only one thing is important.
So, what is this most important thing? It is seeking Jesus with all your heart and putting him first in your life.
That is the grand priority!
Crockpot or Microwave?
Let’s consider the differences between a crockpot and a microwave. In the morning, a meal is put into the crockpot, and it is plugged in and turned on. The meal cooks all day long, and in the evening a beautiful dinner is ready. With a microwave oven, the item is popped into the microwave, you hit a button and three minutes later, out comes whatever was cooked.
Spiritual formation is not a microwave experience. It is a crockpot experience.
It is a daily thing living with Jesus!
Jesus doesn’t want half of your life. He doesn’t want two-thirds of your life. He wants all your life, everything you are and everything you have.
Total Surrender Required
I was bought with a price and now I belong to God.
This is the focus of what we are talking about here. It means that I am willing to kill my will and allow God to direct my life in every way possible. This is the heart and soul of spiritual formation. It means that we surrender our hearts and our lives to Jesus Christ. It means that we live in his love and his blessing every single day. We follow him in every way that we possibly can.
So, understanding spiritual formation we know this, Jesus is saying that if you want to grow in the way that I want you to grow as a Christian you must do this –you must begin by dying to yourself by killing your will and then you take up your cross every day and in faithfulness, consistency and in love for me and wanting to serve me because you love me, you carry your cross every day and you walk into service every day and you do my will.