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Words of Faith 8-10-18

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018


Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Luke 10:38-42

   As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. [39] She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. [40] 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!"     [41] "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, [42] but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


       Another part of the problem here was that Martha was trying to control her sister.

       "Tell her to help me!" Some have suggested that it was because Martha was the oldest of the siblings. But we see here the tendency to worry not just about ourselves. We often are not content to listen to the Lord and discern what God wants us to do. We want to discern what everyone else ought to be doing.

       How might Jesus have responded if Mary had complained, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the praying and learning all by myself? She is banging around in the kitchen and I can't hear what you are saying! Tell her to get out here and be more spiritual!"  

       Jesus might well have responded by saying, "Many things are necessary. You have chosen well. But the heart of the Kingdom is in serving. This will not be taken from her..."

       Of course, Marys can be controlling too! The problem is when we get a set idea about what everyone else ought to be doing. We complain that more people ought to have shown up. More people ought to be at the prayer meeting. More people ought to stay after to take down and haul chairs.

       Many talk today about the problem of being a “control freak.” It is one thing to be carefully organized in your life. It is quite another when you live an anxious life set upon controlling all the people and details around you.

       Some marks a control freak include refusing to delegate (do everything yourself or redo the work of others), everything has to be on your schedule, perfectionism, tend to be moody, expectations are constantly threatened, micromanage others, judge other's behaviors, you see things through a past hurt, you are overly critical of others.

       Was Martha a control freak? Probably not, but she may have been on her way in that direction.

       The problem with being “controlling” is we essentially take over a role that belongs to God. It is sometimes called “god-ship,” the sin of trying to be our own god and be in the place of god to others.

       The truth is that the only person that I can be responsible for is me. I can listen to God and be obedient. That is all I can do. I cannot change the behavior of any other person. The sooner I realize this the happier my life and those around me will be.  

       The Serenity Prayer is a famous set of thoughts written by Reinhold Niebuhr. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

       I recently saw a couple of versions of this.


       God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, the courage to change the one I can, and the wisdom to know it’s me.

       God, grant me the serenity to stop beating myself for not doing things perfectly, the courage to forgive myself because I’m working on doing better, and the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am.