We have begin our study of the choices of life. So far we have learnt the about the following.
There was a man who entered a fine dining restaurant. He was greeted by the waiter “Sir would you like a drink? There is fruit juice , tea and coffee”. The man replied “Give me tea” and the waiter replied “Do you want Red Tea, Green Tea or Jasmine?”. He said “Red Tea” Then the water ask “Do you want milk to go with your tea?” he replied “Fresh milk please” the waiter continued “Will it be cows milk or goats milk?” He replied “Goats milk” , the waiter asked “Do you want white or rare sugar?”
At that point the man gave up and said “Just give me water” . The Waiter ask “Spring or tap water?” the man said in despair “Forget it, just let me thirst to death”
We need to make choices for many things in life. It can be about what to eat, what to wear. We are not worried about having no food, but rather there are too many choices. Sometimes it makes us unsure what to choose.
We often like to have more choices but when there are too many choices it will be hard to decide. Sometimes we do not know what is good choice for us.
Let us consider the choice of Mary and Martha
The Choice Of Mary And Martha
Sometimes in the midst of many choices, we are unsure over which is the best choice. That is why Jesus reminds us that there are things we cannot do without.
“Martha, Martha, you are worried
and troubled about many things.
But one thing is needed, and Mary
has chosen that good part, which
will not be taken away from her.”- Jesus (Lk 10:41-42)
So have we made the right choice? There are many things in life we can choose to let go. When we do so, it will help us to be less burdened and give us less worry. It will allow us to have more time to relax and allowing us to lead a less pressured and relax life.
The Choice Of Mary : The Word Of God
For man is limited and cannot have everything in life, we all have different needs. But there is one thing that we cannot do without, we need to take note of the words of Jesus. Jesus was talking about the better portion, which is the teaching of God.
Many people in the world had different definition of “A better portion”. Different man had different opinion of the better portion. The poor will regard money as a better portion for it solves his problem. But the rich will regard longevity as a better portion. for if one had money and no life it is no good. Many will view health as a better portion for they do not like to suffer illness.
To the dead there is no such things as a good portion. That is when we realise the only good portion in life is eternal life. Jesus tells us that it is something we cannot do without. For Gods words is the words of life, it is all that we need.
For we will all die on e day, and nothing on earth is a true blessing. For all things are temporary and we need to choose the words of God. That is the choice of Mary and it should be our choice as well.
The Life Giving Word Of God
Elder Peter Once tell us
“having been born again, not of corruptible
seed but incorruptible, through the word of
God which lives and abides forever, because
“All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was
preached to you.” – Peter (1 Pet 1:23-25)
A Seed could be full of life or dead, but how would one be able to tell between the two? Of one were to plant the seed he will be able tell it easily. If the seed grows, we will know if the seed had life. You can eat its fruit. But if one does not plant the seed there will be no growth and it will never had a life.
Peter tells us that the words we hear are precious for it is the words of life. If one were to hear it, it will give him eternal life and help us to pursue after God. We often pursue after many things in the world, but those things are like flowers and grass. They look pretty but they are temporary.
Indeed today we have flowers that are permanent, they are fake flowers that doesn’t die. Sometimes we even mistook them as real flowers.
We need to differentiate between genuine and artificial, what is everlasting and what is temporary. We are often careful with many things in life. How can we be careless with the words of God?
We need to receive this life giving work and it will bring us salvation. But there are many who do not like the truth in the words of God. For they feel that it brings dissensions and unhappiness and it breaks the unity of the church.
But the church is the kingdom of God and if they do not talk about the truth, what else should they be talking about?
The Word That Forgive Sins And Grants Eternal Life
The Church is not a social club, an entertainment venue or a welfare society. There are already plenty of such organisations in the world. But the world lacks a place where sins is forgiven, where salvation is granted.
Those is only found in the church of God and that is why Jesus need to establish the church. The purpose of the church is the to preach the gospel and present all mankind with a choice. Man can choose to accept the grace of God and be forgiven or to choose to reject God.
In the eyes of God this choice is something that is important and something that must always be present. If the church was does not preach or care about the truth of God. Is she still the church of Christ. If Christians do not love the truth and do not discern the truth. If they treat the truth as something unimportant, they will disappoint God greatly.
Let us realign our thinking about the choice we make, for all man had to die once and after that to face judgement. Where will our souls end up in? That is why Jesus reminds us saying
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide
is the gate and broad is the way that
leads to destruction, and there are
many who go in by it. Because narrow
is the gate and difficult is the way which
leads to life, and there are few who find it.” – Jesus (Matt 7:13-14)
In life it appears as if there are many choices and many path to take, but in fact there are only 2 paths to take at the end of our life. One path leads to eternal life while the other leads to destruction. Which path will we take eventually? It depends on the choice we make in this life, if we choose to listen to the words of Jesus, we have eternal life. If we choose to listen to the world, we will reap destruction.
The Choice Of The Rich Fool
Jesus once talked about the parable of the rich man who had a lot of wealth. He is capable and good, and he planned to tear down his barns for a bigger barn. He had gained so much in a short time and he added riches upon riches.
He told himself
“Soul, you have many goods laid up
for many years; take your ease; eat,
drink, and be merry.” – Rich man (Lk 12:19)
But God told him
“Fool! This night your soul will be
required of you; then whose will
those things be which you have
provided?’”- God (Lk 12:20)
We have heard this parable many times, but have we made our choice? Sometimes we forget our choice so we need to re-read the scriptures.
“So is he who lays up treasure for
himself, and is not rich toward God.” – Jesus (Lk 12:21)
We often forget this verse. Jesus tells us that those who choose wealth are poor towards God. Let us not be like the rich fool. for he made a wrong choice. He is rich before everyone else but he is poor in the eyes of God.
We need to have God to abide with us, we know that we will gain much if we strive after the world. But at the very end all that we gain will be given to others. The Chinese had a interesting word for the word blessing. You would often see this word written in their house especially during Chinese new Year
It is the word 福. Which is “Fu”. This words can be broken up into 2 portion. One side reads “一口田” which means a plot of land. But that is only half of the word. The other side of the word shares the same side as the word God. (神 which is Shen)
Only when both words appear then the word blessing is formed. IT reminds us that material possession is only half a blessing. Only when it is accompanied with God then that is true blessing.
We need to have this same realisation, indeed as human beings we need money for survival. All matters in life requires some money to be spent. But life is not about making money. We need to prepare for the salvation of our souls. For one day, our souls will leave us. When that happen where will it go?
Jesus reminds us to learn from Mary and to make the right choice. Let us choose to come before him and listen to the words of God.
At the same time there are 3 things we need to consider from the choice of Mary and Martha
Pt 1: How Should We Come Before Jesus ?
Both Martha and Mary loved the Lord, they like to come before his presence. But their attitudes are different. It is something we ought to consider as Christian. For it is something we need to consider before coming towards God.
“But Martha was distracted with much serving,
and she approached Him and said,
“Lord, do You not care that my sister
has left me to serve alone? Therefore
tell her to help me.”.”- Luke (Lk 10:40)
When Martha came before Jesus, she only spoke what she wanted to say. Mary on the contrary did the opposite. She came before Jesus to listen to what he wanted to say. Martha was distracted with much serving and she was full of complaints within her heart. She is complaining about Mary not helping her. She is indirectly blaming Jesus. For she said “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?”
Usually when one is busy and troubled, they will end up frowning and unhappy. The will not be able to listen to the words of God and they can only complain. Martha failed to realise it, and she even push the blame onto Jesus. She felt that she had the right to be angry. That is why she spoke bluntly before Jesus, but Jesus rebuke her gently.
“Martha, Martha, you are worried
and troubled about many things” – Jesus (Lk 10:41)
Are these things really so important? Does Jesus need to listen to our order and do as we please? Jesus said these for he wanted Martha to consider her heart, her thoughts and her action.
At the same time Mary had many things to say, and lots of question she cannot understand. For he heard of Jesus talking about his death. The Jews of those days thinks that the Messiah will live forever, and if Jesus were to die is he still the messiah?
Mary must have loads of question on her mind as she heard Jesus talking about his death. But yet she put aside her worries, troubles and question and listen to him attentively.
“And she had a sister called Mary,
who also sat at Jesus’ feet and
heard His word “- Luke (Lk 10:39)
Pt 2: Are We Sitting At the Feet Of Jesus?
We need to ask ourselves , “Are we sitting at the feet of Jesus? Are We Listening To Him Attentively?”
Perhaps we may be seated in the church, but are we seating quietly listening or are we on a lookout for words that will offend us? Are we sitting in the church hall but sleeping? Or are we hearing attentively?
What does it mean to sit before the feet of Jesus today?
The sermon speaker is a servant of God he is speaking in the name of Jesus. At the moment when he said “In the name of Jesus I speak” he is a representative of Jesus. The words he is speaking is taken from the bible. We are suppose to be listening to the words of God.
We are here to study the words of God and not to examine the qualification of the speaker. As long as he is speaking from the bible, we ought to pay attention. that is what it means to sit at the feet of Jesus.
If we come to the church with a attitude saying “Who is this man who is speaking, is he qualified to speak the words of God” We will only be listening to the words of man. For we ignore the fact that he begin in the name of Jesus and we do not even care if what he speak is accordance to the bible or not.
If one were to hold such attitude, then we are seating before the feet of man and hearing the words of man.
Jesus once told us something that we need to believe in
“For where two or three are gathered
together in My name, I am there in
the midst of them.”- Jesus (Matt 18:20)
Have we considered that Jesus is with us here in the church hall? Perhaps we do not see vision of Jesus and angels appearing among us. But if we believe in the words of God then every service will be a miracle by itself.
Even though we cannot see Jesus with us, but we can see him through faith. If we do that then we would be careful with what we do within the church. For we know that God is watching us as we service.
Sometimes we forget that Jesus is within our midst that is why we act without thinking that God is present with us. So today as we gather for service and as we speak and listen to sermon.
The speaker needs to understand that he is actually representing Jesus speaking, he had to be mindful and to speak according to the words of God. He need to speak diligently and be faithful to the words of God.
Likewise the listeners need to be reminded that they have a duty to be attentive and to listen. They had a duty to discern if the words spoken is according to the word of God.
For God is with us whenever we gather to worship. Let us consider if we have followed or went against the teaching of the bible.
Pt 3: Are We Serious In Our Worship?
Whenever we think of the fact that Jesus is with us in this church hall. Have we ever asked “What is he doing here today?” Those who are parents will check on their kids quietly. They want to know if the kid will behave when they are not around.
In fact Jesus is looking at us, he is not just looking at what we are doing within this church hall. He is looking at our hearts, and he can hear our hearts responding to the speaker. He can hear our heart cursing and scolding the speaker. At the same time he is also looking at the speaker, he is considering if the speaker is indeed speaking the words of God.
He wanted to know if the speaker will dare to speak for God or if he would speak to please man. At the same time he is looking at the congregation. He wanted to know if they are here to receive the words of God or the words of man.
He wanted to know if we are serious in our service towards him . Perhaps there are time we are not serious, but Jesus is always serious, for whenever 2-3 are gathered in his name he will be there in their midst.
He want to know how we would worship him and he wants to know how reverent we are. He wanted to know how genuine is our hearts.
Jesus once tells us that we need to worship in spirit and in truth. The original language also reminds us that we need to worship according to the truth. Whenever we gather to worship do we come with willingness or anger? Do we worship him according to our whims and fancy and are we worshipping according to the truth?
We have made the right choice to come to church to listen to his words, but God is interested to know what is our attitude and what is on our mind. Let us ask God to help us understand this and help us readjust our thinking. Let us learn to worship God out of a pious and reverent heart.
Let us learn to worship God sincerely.