Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Special: Pastor Dave Arnold #10


The great evangelist of the 19th century, D. L. Moody said, “There is a restlessness and fretfulness in these days which stand like two granite walls against Godliness. Contentment is almost necessary to Godliness, and Godliness is absolutely necessary to contentment. A very restless man will never be a very Godly man, and a very Godly man will never be a very restless man.”

In Luke 12:29, Christ admonished, “Do not…have an anxious mind.” He used a word for “anxious” that means, “all up in the air about something,” that suggests “hovering between hope and fear, restless, anxious.” C. S. Lewis declared, “Anxiety is not only a pain which we must ask God to assuage, but also a weakness we must ask Him to pardon – for He has told us to take no care for the morrow.”

Richard A. Swenson, M.D., wrote an article for Decision Magazine called “The Epidemic of Overload.” He reported the following:

1. “One-third of us feel rushed all the time. We sleep two-and-a-half fewer hours each night than people did 150 years ago. In the United States, up to 70 million people have trouble sleeping.

2. As office workers, we receive about 170 messages every work day. We average 36 hours of work piled on our desks, and we spend three hours a week trying to find things.

3. We spend eight months of our lives opening junk mail, to call people who aren’t in or whose lines are busy, and five years waiting in line.”

He continued, “In the 1960’s, futurists predicted that within 30 years, we would be working 20-hour weeks because of anticipated productivity gains. Instead, the median husband-wife unit today puts in 90 hours a week, not including domestic duties.” Stress is also associated with numerous disease processes. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 75 to 90% of all doctor related visits are stress-related.

In the story of Christ’s visit to the home of Mary and Martha, found in Luke 10:38 – 42, we find a stressful situation, but also, some solutions to it. Martha was a gracious hostess, determined to make the visit of Jesus enjoyable. She was moving swiftly around, attending to matters. Luke described this activity by declaring that she was “cumbered about much serving,” (KJV). “Cumbered” means, “overwhelmed, worried, and troubled.” Quite literally, the Greek word there employed means she was “dragged around.” Martha was a good woman, who loved the Lord, but she was “stressed out.” Good people can be overly-stressed. It is a documented fact that 60% of our waking hours are under some form of stress, and can go as high as 80% to 90%! Woodrow Wilson, referring to the “rat-race” of his day, expressed that “we have worn out our constitution and are living on our by-laws!”

However, we find some helpful solutions in this story as well.

1. KNOW WHAT CAN AND CANNOT BE CHANGED. Martha was stressed over things that could be changed, thinking there was only one way to accommodate the Lord. Mary knew better. We can change a flat tire, but we must learn to adjust to the weather. A recent news feature chronicled the growing search for stress relief through spas, massage, pills, and exercise tapes. The craving to ease tension has birthed an entire industry, which includes walk-in backrub stores in shopping malls across the country. The report ended by saying, “Although people will pay to fix their stress, they are not about to change the lifestyle that is causing it.”

2. ENJOY LIFE’S JOURNEY. In verse 38, Luke tells us, “Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village, and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.” And in verse 41, Jesus said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worrying and troubled about many things.” Unfortunately, Martha became consumed with the preparation of things, failing to enjoy the presence of Christ. Psalm 16:11, “You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Rev. Peter Marshall, Chaplain of the U. S. Senate from 1947 to 1949, prayed, “We pray, O God, that you will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live – time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other.”

3. IDENTIFY THE CAUSE. Martha’s problem was “much serving.” Benjamin Franklin warned, “Drive thy business, let not thy business drive thee.” A cartoon says it all. Beneath a picture of a frustrated young man was this caption: “God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things. Right now I’m so far behind, I will never die.” Remember the old adage, “No one on his deathbed ever regretted not putting in more time at the office.”

4. SHARE THE WORKLOAD. Luke reminds us in verse 40a. “And she had a sister called Mary.” Certainly Mary was willing to assist. Ecclesiastes 4:9a says, “Two are better than one.”

5. REST AND TAKE A BREAK. We are told, “And…Mary…sat,” verse 39. Physical, emotional and spiritual rest are mandatory. That’s why God gave us the Sabbath. Life necessitates that we “lie down in green pastures” and allow our Shepherd to lead us beside still waters, so as to have our souls restored, Psalm 23:2 and 3. Correctly did J. Oswald Sanders remind us, “It is possible to throw our lives away foolishly by burning the candle at both ends.”

6. COMMUNE WITH GOD. Luke says of Mary, “And she had a sister called Mary who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” Then he added what Christ said to Martha, “Mary has chosen the good part,” verse 41. 2 Chronicles 14:7b, “We have sought the Lord our God; we have sought Him, and He has given us rest on every side.” Peter exhorted us, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:7. Jesus invited, “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” Matthew 11:28.

John Wesley’s message of salvation by grace through faith revolutionized England in the eighteenth century. He lived a very busy life, averaging preaching three times a day for more than fifty-four years. While doing this, he road by horseback and carriage more that 200,000 miles, taking the gospel message to two continents. However, he is known to have lived a life free of care, with no sense of weariness. He wrote, “I feel and grieve, but by the grace of God, I fret at nothing.” May God help us adhere to the old Savoyard proverb, “I have so much to do that I am going to bed.”

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all,” 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Dave Arnold, Pastor – Gulf Coast Worship Center, New Port Richey, Fl.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©


Even So... said...

I recently learned that John Wesley stood "only" 5'2"...yee haw!

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