[SW352] 11/10/2018 message notes by
Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018
“Seek Him From This Position”
Text: Luke 10:38-42
NOTE: The Lord has directed me to speak three messages on seeking the Lord — the position from which you must seek Him, the purpose of seeking Him, and the outcome of seeking Him.
From what position must you seek the Lord? The position He requires of all of His followers is to sit at His feet. When you sit at His feet, you do His will. When you sit at His feet, you are doing the one and only work He requires of you.
To sit at His feet is a humble position, a position of adoration, submission, love, a position taken by those who desire to intimately know Him.
Such a position was contrary to social norms of the days when Jesus walked the earth, and is even contrary to norms in today’s church. When you take such a position, many believers and even pastors will think you are odd.
But to sit at His feet is the only position from which to serve Him, and the only position from which to hear and heed His words and learn from Him. When you seek Him from that position, you are serving Him by doing the one and only work He requires.
It is the position of a disciple. It is a position of waiting on Him, to hear Him.
It is the one thing necessary (literally, “the required work”). And as you sit at His feet, the good part which you have chosen will not be taken (cut) away from you.
From the position of sitting at His feet, all else flows. The Lord showed me that truth, about nine years ago. It was for me and every believer. Beloved, apart from Him, you and I can do nothing (John 15:5).
Keeping in mind all that I have said thus far, look at Luke 10:38-42 with me. May this speak to your heart!
In this passage, Jesus had been traveling, and arrived at Martha and Mary’s home in Bethany, less than a mile from Jerusalem (John 11:1). He likely was accompanied by some of His disciples.
Martha welcomed Him into her home. As you will soon see, she quickly went to work to prepare food and drink for Him. It is just as you and I would do for a guest.
But Martha’s sister, Mary, chose to sit down at Jesus’ feet, listening to His word. I see her looking up at Him, and hanging on every word that came from His mouth.
Moses spoke this to God’s people —
Deuteronomy 8:3 “He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.”
By sitting at Jesus’ feet, Mary violated the social norms of the day. Women were banned from being disciples of men. But she was drawn to Him, and chose to sit in the position of a disciple, a position of worship, adoration and submission, at His feet. She did that which is essential, the one and only work that He requires.
But Martha was distracted (drawn away) because she was busy with much serving. She chose to serve Him by providing natural sustenance and comforts to Him. She did not choose to sit at His feet and listen to everything that proceeded from His mouth.
Soon, Martha became frustrated because there was so much to do! So she said to the Lord, “Do You not care that Mary has left me to do the serving alone? Then tell her (command her) to help me.” So Martha thought Jesus had no paid attention to Mary’s misbehavior and Martha’s own need for help, and ordered the Lord to command Mary to help.
Martha did not see that Mary was serving the Lord. What was Mary’s service to Him? It was to seek Him, to sit at His feet, to listen to His words, and thus, to worship and adore Him and learn from Him. She did the one work that He requires.
After returning with food for Jesus, His disciples urged Him to eat something. But He replied —
John 4:34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
When you sit at His feet, you will do His will and thus, do His Father’s will. Then you will receive spiritual food from Him — even the infilling of the Holy Spirit —and you will be able to accomplish the work to which He will set your hands.
So, when Martha complained to Jesus about Mary, He rebuked her. She was wrong to resent her sister for not helping her with natural provisions.
He said, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about so many things! You are doing things that you think are good, but they draw you away from Me, and from doing the one work I require! You are doing unnecessary things. But only one thing is necessary, Jesus said. Only one! Just one thing is needful, only one work is required!
He told Martha that Mary had chosen to do the one work that He requires. She had chosen the good part, that which is essential. He did not command Mary to sit at His feet, but she chose to do what all of His followers are required to do.
And what is more, by sitting at His feet, she came to know His voice. By sitting at His feet and listening to His word, her obedience blessed Him! Listen to His response upon hearing the good report from the 70 disciples who had sat at His feet and who He had then sent out to proclaim Him —
Luke 10:21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight . . .”
Luke 10:23-24 Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”
In the same way, He rejoices greatly in the Holy Spirit when His followers do the one work He requires. Mary expressed her devotion to Him, her love for Him, and her hunger to know Him just as deeply and completely as possible. And He rejoiced greatly! And there is more!
Mary, even Mary, saw what prophets and kings had longed to see, and heard what prophets and kings had longed to hear! I tell you the truth, many believers do not understand the inestimable value of His words!
Jesus said that the one required work that she had done would not be taken (cut) away from her. What did He mean? He would not command her to leave her position of sitting at His feet in order to provide natural things for Him. He was glad for Mary to remain at His feet continually! She was doing the one — the only — work He requires.
Are you seeking the Lord by sitting at His feet? Oh, do it! Know that you will be mocked. But do not let that deter you! It is the one work that He requires!
In today’s church, there are few who do this one work that He requires. I was one of them. This one work that He requires is not taught in most places of worship.
As with Martha, the church is very busy providing natural things. This busyness draws believers away from this one required work.
In surveys, many pastors report that they do not have time to sit at Jesus’ feet, and it is the same for those in church congregations. It is because they have determined that they will do natural work for their communities. But they have made that choice, just like Martha.
Many pastors “burn out,” and leave ministry because they are out of position. They must get into the position of seeking Him at His feet! Instead, they are frenzied and frazzled, just like Martha. But they have made that choice, just like Martha.
When Jeff and I were taking ordination classes, we saw many young pastors who were already on their way to burnout. They were not in position, sitting at Jesus’ feet and hanging onto every word that came from His mouth. But they made that choice, just like Martha.
We found that during our ordination class times, both experienced and young pastors came to us because they were drawn by the Lord in us. We spoke of sitting at His feet, and of being filled with His Holy Spirit. They found us to be very odd! But no one will take away (cut away from us) what we do — the good part, the one work that He requires. We continue to sit at His feet and listen to His word.
These young pastors were already urging their congregations to do work in the community, and were already planning many outreaches. Their leaders urged them to do such things, in leadership class required for ordination. The leaders wanted their pastors to say a resounding “Yes!”, when they were asked if the community would miss their church if it closed!
But they have missed Jesus!
The truth is that church leaders cannot lead and believers cannot become disciples unless and until they seek Him by sitting at His feet. All else flows from that one and only work that He requires.
Beloved, if you choose to change your ways and seek Him by sitting at His feet and listening to His word, you will find that He will say, Ask your Father in heaven to fill you with the Holy Spirit (see Luke 11:13)! Your Father in heaven will do it!
Then the Father and the Son and the Spirit will fully indwell you (John 14:23). And they will minister through you, flowing out of you to others.
All of the busy work of Martha meant nothing to Jesus. All of the busy work of the church means nothing to Jesus, beloved. There is only one work that He requires.
Stop all your busy work, sit at His feet, and listen to His word, beloved! It is the one work which He requires. And out of that one required work, all else flows! Amen!