July 17, 2016
Text: Genesis 18:1-10
A Day in the LifeDay by day- and each passing moment- strength I find to meet my trials here. Trusting in myFather’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear. He whose heart is kind beyond allmeasure, gives unto each day what he deems best. Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,mingling toil with peace and rest. PrayWhen we are going through difficult times, we live one day at a time. Even when things aregoing well, and we make plans for the future, we still have no choice but to live one day at atime.There are events that punctuate our lives like birthdays and holidays and vacations, but most ofour lives are spent in what we call “normal”, “none event” days. When we are going through adifficult time, we ask ourselves what it is we can learn from it. But perhaps it would be good toask ourselves the same question in the “none event” days of our lives. For those are days wehave been given to prepare for the challenging ones. Writing to the Ephesians, the apostle Pauladmonished: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise- making themost of the time, because the days are evil.”We often say that the trials of life are when we learn- and that is true- but sometimes all we cando in those times is hunker down and draw on and apply what we have learned and have beentrained in the days and years before.Recently, our grandson Cal went to work with his dad- to see for himself what a day in the life ofhis dad was like. We were sent a picture of the two about ready to go to work together- (or was itschool?) They were dressed alike and looked alike- with smiles on their faces. I think going towork with their parents is such a great opportunity for parents and their children to bond andlearn from each other.When I was growing up, every day was go to work with your parent day. I followed my dadeverywhere he went and helped- and as I did, I learned how to do things. But more importantly, Iwatched my dad work and react in different situations. Every moment was a “teaching moment”and I learned what a day in the life of a Christian was all about.Have you ever thought about what a day in the life of Jesus disciple was like? Every day theyfollowed Jesus, watching, learning- but perhaps more important, they spent time with Jesus andgot to know his heart. A normal day for Jesus was an opportunity to minister to people, call outthe wrongs- encourage and heal.
The day for Martha and Mary had begun like any other day, busying themselves with the normalroutines of the morning. But soon that would change. When they heard that Jesus and hisdisciples were passing by, Martha went out into the street and invited them into their house for ameal. It was apparent that she had the gift of hospitality.Soon she was busy preparing a meal with a song on her lips. Meanwhile however, Mary wascontent to do nothing but spend time with Jesus. Soon Martha became – shall we say- upset thatshe was doing all the work while her sister hadn’t lifted a finger to help. And so she came toJesus and asked him- don’t you care that my sister has left me with all the work? She fullyexpected Jesus to side with her- but instead, he said: “Martha, Martha, you are distracted bymany things-but Mary has chosen the only one thing that is needed.” What was the one thingneeded? I believe it was enjoying his presence.I think Martha has been labeled unfairly too often. She loved Jesus. In the gospel of John, it saysthat Jesus loved Martha. When Mary and Martha were filled with sorrow at their brotherLazarus’s death- it was Martha who ran out to meet him and there in the middle of the road,poured out her heart to him.Truth is, all of us are capable of being either a Martha or a Mary any given day depending onwhat we are experiencing. No matter what our day might bring, we all need Jesus. All need todevote time to be alone with God every day.Jesus himself needed some alone time with His Father- and often left the crowds and went off toa lonely place to be in the presence of his father. The Good shepherd leads his sheep beside stillwaters and makes them lie down in green pastures. We get distracted like Martha did with all thethings to do- and being distracted away from God leads to stress and worry and we don’t noticethe Good Shepherd is there all the time- calling us to trust him to show the way. But when we liedown and quiet ourselves in the presence of God, we are better able to put things in perspective.But then, isn’t our whole lives as followers of Jesus meant to be lives devoted to him everymoment of every day? Isn’t that what Jesus meant? Every moment then, regardless of what weare doing-whether we are busy working or playing- or sitting quietly alone with God- can be atime spent with Jesus.I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I sit down for quiet time, my mind is far from quietand am distracted with all the thoughts of what I need to be doing instead of the one thingneeded. On the other hand, when I am busy doing things- that is when I have deep conversationswith God and am reassured of His presence. Martha could have gone about her chores doing thenecessary things in the presence of God.Have any of you heard of the phrase: “practicing the presence?” It is a phrase coined by BrotherLawrence-born in France in 1614. He devoted his life to serving God as a lay brother in amonastery in Paris. There he wrote many books- including a book called: “Practicing thePresence of God”.
Jesus promised that he would never leave us or forsake us- and yet it is all too easy sometimes toforget that truth in the middle of a crisis or the uncertainty of the future.Brother Lawrence wrote: “times of business does not differ with me from the time of prayer- andin the noise and chatter of my kitchen while several things are at the time, calling for differentthings, I possess God as great tranquility as if I were on my knees.A day in the life of a Christian is not always easy street. It can be hard- but we are not alone.That is why Paul could say this: “we rejoice in our sufferings- knowing that suffering producesendurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does notdisappoint us because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit whichhas been given us.”If all we do is go through life suffering without acknowledging God’s presence in our lives, allwe will do is suffer- and no doubt grow bitter and angry through time. But living in the presenceof God in our lives, we will grow in endurance- endurance that produces character that lives inhope- not some abstract hope- but the living hope of Christ living in us- the hope of glory.We have been sent into the world to tell others of Jesus and His love. Sometimes that meansgoing overseas to a third world country- and sometimes that means simply crossing the street orroom to share the good news as part of our everyday lives.Jesus said: “there is need of only one thing.” What is that one thing? We need the Lord- hissaving grace, his healing, his assurance- and we find all that and more in his presence. In Hisname we pray- Amen.