MARY, MARTHA, AND WORRY
Matthew 6:26, ESV
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
LUKE 10:38-42, NIrV
38 Jesus and his disciples went on their way. Jesus came to a village where a woman named Martha lived. She welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary. Mary sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, my sister has left me to do the work by myself. Don’t you care? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered. “You are worried and upset about many things. 42 But few things are needed. Really, only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better. And it will not be taken away from her.”
Jesus was a mighty miracle worker and a powerful preacher. When he came to visit the home of Mary and Martha, it was a big deal! Martha got right to work, doing everything that needed to be done to welcome her special guest and his disciples. She got so busy doing all the little things that she completely missed the biggest thing of all: spending time with Jesus! Martha wanted Jesus to order her sister to help, but Jesus did the opposite. “Mary has made the better choice,” he said. There are many things we can do in life, but nothing’s more important than spending time with Jesus!
+ What did Martha want Jesus to do? (vs. 40)
+ What did Jesus say about Martha’s sister Mary? (vs. 42)
LUKE 12:22-26, NIrV
22 Then Jesus spoke to his disciples. He said, “I tell you, do not worry. Don’t worry about your life and what you will eat. And don’t worry about your body and what you will wear. 23 There is more to life than eating. There are more important things for the body than clothes. 24 Think about the ravens. They don’t plant or gather crops. They don’t have any barns at all. But God feeds them. You are worth much more than birds! 25 Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying? 26 You can’t do that very little thing. So why worry about the rest?
Martha almost missed Jesus because she was worried about all the little things. These verses from Luke tells us about a time when Jesus was teaching a crowd of people about why we shouldn’t worry. He told them to think about ravens. Sure, ravens are great at flying and eating seeds and bugs, but boy, they are terrible farmers! They can build a pretty good nest, but could never build a big barn! And yet, Jesus said God feeds them every day. If God, our Father in Heaven, will feed the birds, he’ll certainly feed human beings, too! No good dad would feed his animals, but forget his own kids!
+ What two things did Jesus tell us not to worry about? (vs. 22)
+ Can anyone make themselves live even one hour longer by worrying? (vs. 25)
LUKE 12:27-31, NIrV
27 “Think about how the wild flowers grow. They don’t work or make clothing. But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in his royal robes was dressed like one of those flowers. 28 If that is how God dresses the wild grass, how much better will he dress you! After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small! 29 Don’t spend time thinking about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about it. 30 People who are ungodly run after all those things. Your Father knows that you need them. 31 But put God’s kingdom first. Then those other things will also be given to you.
King Solomon was one of the richest kings who ever lived. People came from far away to admire his treasure-filled palace. The amazing things they saw took their breath away! But Jesus said the beauty of Solomon’s treasures was nothing compared to how wonderfully God dresses the wildflowers that grow in the grass. These flowers didn’t buy fabric at a store. They didn’t sew together beautiful clothes using a sewing machine. Jesus explained, “If God dresses flowers so beautifully, should you worry that he’s going to let his own kids walk around wearing nothing? Of course not!”
+ What is Jesus telling us not to worry about in these verses?
+ Instead of worrying about clothes, food or drink, what should we seek? (vs. 30-31)
LUKE 12:32-34, NIRV
32 “Little flock, do not be afraid. Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you own. Give to those who are poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out. Store up riches in heaven that will never be used up. There, no thief can come near it. There, no moth can destroy it. 34 Your heart will be where your riches are.
Would you live differently if your father was a rich king, if he promised you would enjoy the treasures of his kingdom forever? That’s exactly how Jesus wants us to think about our lives! If we believe the good news about Jesus, we’re members of God’s kingdom. We’ll spend forever enjoying life with him. We shouldn’t live our days on earth worrying about food or clothing or stuffing our moneybags ‘til they break. Instead, our time should be spent doing what our Father, the King, commands us: loving him with all our hearts and loving others as we love ourselves.
+ What reason does Jesus give for us to not be afraid? (vs. 32)
+ Where should our treasure be: on earth or in heaven? (vs. 33)
PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7, NIRV
4 Always be joyful because you belong to the Lord. I will say it again. Be joyful! 5 Let everyone know how gentle you are. The Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything. No matter what happens, tell God about everything. Ask and pray, and give thanks to him. 7 Then God’s peace will watch over your hearts and your minds. He will do this because you belong to Christ Jesus. God’s peace can never be completely understood.
Once you start to worry, it can be hard to stop. These Bible verses tell us what we should do when we’re anxious (or worried): we should talk to God in prayer! Did you ever get scared in the middle of the night and cry out for help? When you did, someone probably rushed in right away to see if you were okay. In the same way, when things worry us, we should call out to our Father in heaven. God gives us a promise when we pray: he’ll watch over and guard our hearts and minds from worry. And as we pray, he will give us peace (the exact opposite of worry).
+ In how many situations should we pray? (vs. 6)
+ What will the peace of God guard? (vs. 7)
PHILIPPIANS 4:8, NIRV
8 Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things.
There are many things a person has to do each and every day: cooking, cleaning, eating, working, sleeping, studying, and on and on. There’s so much stuff to get done, it’s easy to wonder if we will actually have time to finish it all! This was exactly how Martha was feeling when Jesus and his disciples came over to visit.
Martha worried so much about what needed to be done that she almost missed the greatest opportunity of her life: spending time with Jesus, the Son of God! The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened after Jesus spoke to Martha. I certainly hope she stopped her busywork, plopped herself down next to her sister, Mary, and spent time listening to the most important person who has ever walked the face of our planet!
We might think that we wouldn’t make the same mistake Martha did. If we had a chance to spend time with Jesus, we’d put down whatever we were doing, run to his feet, and listen like Mary. But here’s the thing: we often do the exact same thing Martha did!
We can hear what Jesus said and see what he did when we read our Bibles. We have a chance to talk with Jesus whenever we pray. But like Martha, we often choose to do a whole lot of other things that are nowhere near as important as listening to and talking with Jesus. We let our distractions and worries rule our lives instead of King Jesus.
What should we do when worry comes? Let’s remember what the Bible has taught us. First, Jesus told us to think about the ravens and the wildflowers. If God feeds feathered birds and clothes flowery plants, he’ll certainly feed and clothe his kids! Next, we learned from the book of Philippians to pray to God whenever worry creeps in. And when we do, God has promised to guard our worrying hearts and give us peace.
Today, we learned one more thing to do when worry is at our door: change what we think about! When we worry, we imagine everything that could go wrong. These thoughts feed the Worry Monster in our minds! But when we do what the book of Philippians says and think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, worthy of respect, excellent, or praiseworthy, we will starve the Worry Monster away!
When you’re worried, think about the one person in the universe who perfectly matches all the things we’re supposed to think about: God! Think about how he takes care of birds and flowers. Think about how he made the sun, moon, and stars. And think about how he sent his only Son Jesus to save sinners like you and me and Mary and Martha! When we think of our great big God, the worries of life will seem small!
+ Write down all the things that verse 8 tells us to think about.