Now he part of the chapter I'd like to focus on is there beginning verse 38, where the bible reads, "Now came to pass as they went that he entered into a certain village and a certain woman named Martha received them into her house. She had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving and came to him and said, 'Lord, does thou not care that my sister had left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me." Jesus answered and said unto her, "Martha, Martha thou art careful and troubled about many things but one thing is needful and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her."
What I want to preach about tonight is the subject of one thing is needful. Having the right priorities, keeping the main thing, the main thing. Mary made the right choice here, according to Jesus Christ, when she sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to his word, as opposed to being busy doing just a lot of serving and a lot of other menial things. First of all, what I want to show you ... Go to Acts chapter six if you would, what I want to show you first of all is that number one, she made God's word the priority. If you look at literally what she was doing, she was sitting and listening to Jesus speak. She was hearing the word of God come out of the mouth of Jesus Christ. That's the same thing that we do when we pick up our bible and read it. We're listening to the Lord. God's speaking to us through his word.
When we pick up our bibles and read it, we are listening to God's word. The bible tells us here that Mary had chosen the good part and made the right choice by spending time listening to what God had to say. We need to meditate upon the word of God day and night in our lives. The bible said, "This book is the law, shall not depart out of thy mouth but thou shalt meditate therin day and night." It says, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Bible reading, meditating on God's word, listening to God's word, should be a number one priority in our lives every single day.
If everything else goes out the window. If we get too busy for anything else, if we have to neglect something, that should be the last thing that we neglect. Why? The bible says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." People today don't know the bible because they're not listening. Jesus has told us everything that we need to know but if we don't listen, if we're busy doing other things, then it's not going to do us any good. Even for those who are serving God. Martha was clearly serving Jesus Christ. She was in the kitchen. She was doing a lot of serving and cooking a very good meal. It's not that she was doing something bad or sinful, it's just that what she was doing was less important than what she could have been doing, which is listening to what Jesus had to say. Even today, those who are serving God and spending a lot of time working for God can sometimes make the mistake of neglecting reading the word of God. Busy doing a lot of great things for God but not knowing what they're doing because they didn't spend the time reading.
You know, you think of the children of Israel in Romans ten, the bible says that, "They had a zeal for God but not according to knowledge." No matter how zealous you are, no matter how much of a hard worker you are, no matter how dedicated you are and no matter how many hours per week you say, "I'm going to spend these hours serving God and I'm going to volunteer down at the church and I'm going to do all kinds of great works." If you are not spending the time reading your bible, you might be working on all the wrong things. You might make all kind of mistakes and even preach false doctrine because you didn't get the truth from the bible. This is especially important for leaders, for pastors, for preachers and teachers. They have the responsibility of teaching the word of God correctly. It's very important that they listen to what the word of God says so that they do not mislead their churches and teach them wrong things.
Look at Acts chapter six because this is one that deals with the leadership of the church. Here was the ... it was the apostles that were leading. It says in Acts chapter six, verse one, "And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables." They're saying it doesn't make any sense for us to leave the word of God and serve tables. Isn't that exactly what Martha wad doing and what she was trying to get Mary to do? Mary was there listening to the word of God and she was trying to get Mary to leave the word of God and to serve tables. These stories are completely parallel.
It says in verse three, "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." They said, "We want to make sure that we're spending our time on the main thing and that we're spending our time on the word of God, not just on a lot of physical tasks and menial things." Why? Because they're the leaders of the church. It's crucial that they do the praying that they need to do. That they do the ministry of the word that they need to do. Now what is the ministry of the word? The ministry of the word could encompass soul winning, obviously that's a preaching of the word. It could encompass the preaching that the pastor does in the assembly when he preaches Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night. Ministering the word, ministering the word door to door, ministering the word in the church. Also just studying and learning the word so that he may properly guide the people and give them the right information and teaching.
Go if you would to second Timothy chapter two, second Timothy chapter two. See one of the biggest responsibilities of the pastor is to be apt to teach the word of God. He has to know the word of God himself to be able to teach it. Today there are a lot of pastors who don't spend a lot of time really getting to know the word of God. They don't even write their own sermons. They actually will just download a 13 week series or buy it online or order it somewhere. They haven't done the study for themselves. They're just regurgitating things that they've heard. They haven't really proved all things and verified that these things are really scripture and that's why so many church- ... Even if the pastor's intentions are good, they just preach a lot of things that just aren't right. They just haven't done the reading to see what God has actually said.
Look what the bible says in second Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." The bible is teaching here that a man of God who had not studied, and a man of God who does not rightly divide the word of truth, needs to be ashamed. If you do the study and if you rightly divide the word of truth, then you don't need to be ashamed. But if you're neglecting the word of God, even if you're doing a lot of great service and you're serving a lot of tables and doing a lot of physical work, your spinning your wheels. You ought to be ashamed of yourself because your primary responsibility is to the ministry of the word and prayer. Not to just running of a physical organization.
There are a lot of ministries that churches have that just suck up a lot of time and resources and energy of the pastor and of the staff. They're just not really necessary. For example, I know pastors that get up at the crack of dawn or way before the crack of dawn so that they can run Christian schools and day cares. That's not something that God told us to do in the [inaudible 00:08:01]. There's nothing mentioned in this passage of, "Hey we can't deal with the widows, we're too busy raising other peoples' kids. We're too busy running a daycare. We're too busy running a Christian school." No, they're busy with the word of God and prayer. Then the other administration that they put other people over was caring for widows and things of the nature. There's no mention of people raising other people's kids because you're supposed to raise your own kids. Educate you own kids and take care of your own children. But that's not the society we live in but that's what the bible teaches.
Today it's easy for churches to get all wrapped up, busy with a lot of things that would take them away from prayer and the ministry of the word, which is what needs to be focused on by the leadership. Flip over just a few pages to the left, first Timothy chapter five, verse 17 there's another scripture about pastors. Let me get there myself. First Timothy chapter five, and verse 17 says, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour," watch this, "especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward." Look, it says the word and doctrine. Doctrine means teaching. What he's saying here is that elder that's ruling well, is laboring in the work. Not just the word is and afterthought. The word is a 10 or 15 minute devotional that he does every day. He spends 10 or 15 minutes in the word. He reads some kind of sermon that provided him by somebody else and gets up and preach it. No, he labors in the work. That's the main job. Knowing the bible, studying the bible, preaching the bible. To the lost out there, to the saved in here, on your knees praying, not running all kinds of other auxiliary ministries that the bible talks nothing about.
If you want to have some other ministry, you better make sure it's not sucking up all your time that you should be spending on the things the bible actually told you to do. It dead sure shouldn't be a daycare or Christian school. I don't want to raise your kid. I have enough kids to raise. I already have eight of them. That's plenty for me to say grace over.
Anyway, go to Matthew chapter six, if you would. I want to show that number one, she made God's word the priority. If you just take the literal interpretation of that story, she chose to listen to the word. She chose to listen to what Jesus had to say than to just do a bunch of work. I'm all for doing work. The bible talks a lot about doing work. It says that, "For my grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast." Of course we're not saved by our works. We don't have to do any works to be saved. It says right after that, "For where his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had afore ordained that we should walk in them." So what must we do to be saved? Just believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. "therefore we conclude that man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
We know that salvation has nothing to do with works. It's all by faith. It's all by believing in Christ. It's all by grace. It's not by works of righteous which we have done but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing, of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Let me say this though, the bible does say that after we're saved, we should do works. God has ordained that we should walk in those works. It's not that we must do them to be saved or to stay saved. We are eternally saved just by believing in Christ. But that we should do works in Jesus Christ said, "Behold I come quickly and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be." Christ will reward us for our works that we do after we're saved.
I'm not saying that works are bad or that we should be lazy and not do a lot of work. We need to be careful that we don't do so much work that we're too busy to read the bible. That might sound silly, but it has happened before and it will happen again, that people get busy just in their secular job and then working for church and even doing a lot of soul winning. Doing a lot of outreach and doing all kinds of things to serve the church, that they actually neglect just that time of just sitting at the feet of Jesus. It's critical. You're going to crash and burn if you don't spend that time daily sitting at the feet of Jesus. You might be working hard and getting a lot done for God but in order to really be rooted and grounded, you've got to spend that time at the feet of Jesus just listening to him. Letting him teach you and letting him speak to you, so that you can know the truth and so forth.
Number one she made God's word the priority but look at Matthew 6:33, the bible says, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Number two, she chose the spiritual over the physical. She chose that which is spiritual over that which is physical. You don't have to turn there but in second Corinthians four, verse 18, the bible reads, "While we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal but the things which are not seen are eternal." The bible tells us that we should set our affections on things above. Not on things on the earth. We need to have our priority always be that which is spiritual not be that which is carnal. She chose the spiritual over the physical.
Not only that, she chose what was essential over that which was nonessential. If you actually look at the passage there in Luke chapter 10, if you're gone from there that's fine, don't worry about it. But here is what he said, "Martha, Martha thou art careful and troubled about many things" watch this, "but one thing is needful." Now notice, he said one this is needful. What does needful mean? Necessary, it's essential. He said one thing's needful and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her." We should make sure that we never sacrifice something that's essential for something that nonessential.
What do I mean by that? This principal can be applied to all areas of life. First of all we started out by just taking the literal application of the passage. The fact that she listened to the word of God, which today's equivalent would be opening up your bible and reading it. Coming to church and hearing the word of God preached, would be another equivalent of just listening to what God has to say because the word of God is being preached. Reading the bible daily. That's the literal interpretation but honestly there are a lot of times in our life where we have to choose what's spiritual over what's physical. There are also a lot of times in our life were we have to choose what is essential and neglect something that's not essential. That not necessary and not important.
Really what this story is about more than anything else is having the right priorities. Nothing wrong with serving in the kitchen. It's even better to sit at the feet of Jesus. What's your priority? What's the most important thing? What is needful? What is essential? We all have lives that are busy. We try to find time to do the things that are important. I've often had people ask me and say, "How do you get so much done? What is your se-?" ... I'm always surprised and perplexed by that question because I honestly want to ask other people, "What are you doing with all of your time?" I always find it ridiculous when people ask me because I don't feel like I'm that efficient with my time or that I get that much done. But people come to me and they're, "How do you get so much done. How ... Look at all the stuff you got done." I'm just thinking to myself, "What have you been doing with all your time?"
I've even sat down with somebody who was really asking me, "How do you get it done? How do you get it done?" I said, "Look" I said, "Let's look at your life. You have 24 hours in the day, okay. You go to work for eight hours. You sleep for eight hours. That's 16 hours, right? Then let's say you got an hour of commute time. Half hour there, half hour back. That's 17 hours. Let's say you spend another hour just on eating food. That leaves you with six hours every day. What are you doing with that six hours? What do you spen- ... I mean that's sleeping a full night of eight hour beauty rest. You're working a full day at your job, eight hours. You spend an hour in the car commuting. You spend a couple hours just on your toiletries and eating and showering or whatever. You still have another five or six hours in that day. What are you doing with it?" There's just so much time that gets frittered away and wasted on things that just simply don't matter. Things that just aren't that important.
If we would prioritize our time and if we'd plan our time, we could get more done and be more effective. For example, that one hour of commute time, you could turn that into some serious bible reading time by just getting an audio bible. Just listen to it on the drive. Listen to it for a half hour there and half hour back. You just spend an hour on your bible. That's a lot of bible time. That's a lot that you're going to learn. If you did that, you'd go through the whole bible. If you listen to it on your hour drive, you'd listen to it four times in one year. The whole bible. That's a lot.
Let's say you say, "Well I only have a half hour commute." If you just listen to the bible during that half hour commute, you'd listen to the whole bible twice in one year. If you allow, okay, the weekend and whatever but you know what I'm saying. The bottom line is that's just on the days that you work. That's just on your five work days. Then you got Saturday and you got Sunday, you got this time. People don't sometimes have time for things quote/unquote that are really important, like going to church. I think that going to church should be very high on everyone's priority list. It should be right at the top, time wise. I mean literally, if I sacrificed everything else, that's the one thing I wouldn't sacrifice. Just go to church. Just kind of as a minimum.
I always tell people there's 168 hours in the week, church happens for about three or four hours a week. That's what I told my boss too. I had a boss at work, he was always trying to get me to work on Wednesday nights. He was always trying to get me ... I would always just tell him, "Look, there are 168 hours in the week and I'll work for you in the middle of the night, I'll work long, I'll work extra but I don't want to work on Sunday morning, Sunday night or Wednesday night. I'm not going to, you know? I'll work all the other times, there's so many other times that I can work and do extra and so forth." We need to have priorities and prioritize our time. Not waste time on things that don't matter.
You say, "Well, what matters? What doesn't matter?" You've got to decide that for yourself. Between you and scripture, you got to take a hard look at your life and decide what's important to you. What's important to you? What do you want to accomplish more than anything else? What are your priorities? It should be based upon scripture. Of course we know that we should seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. Just to give you a rough outline of certain priorities, church, I believe should be a very high priority in our lives to be in church. The bible says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching." We see the day approaching. We're living in the last days. That means we need more church, not less church. Now is not the time to start scaling back on church. It's really important that you just attend church.
What other priorities are there? I think as a man, you're job should be a very high priority in your life. I mean if you think about it, that's a big part of why we're on this earth, is to go to work and do our job. It's a big part of our identity as men, that we find, is our job. If somebody asked you, "What are you or who are you?" A lot of people would say, "I am an electrician. I'm a plumber. I'm a carpenter. I'm a pastor." They would use their job just to identify who they are. They don't say, "I'm a video game player." Or even just, "I'm whatever, a baseball player." Because you play baseball sometimes or something. Unless that's your job, that's not how you're going to describe yourself. Today, we need to put our job as a major priority as men. Why? Because the bible says, "If any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel." I think that believing in Christ is a pretty high priority. If he said, "If you don't provide for you own, you're worse than an infidel." What's infidel mean? Infidel means non believer. So you're worse than an unbeliever. You're denying the faith.
Obviously you're still saved, you're still going to heaven but publicly, you're denying the faith. It's like you're dragging the name of Christ through the mud, he saying, when you won't provide for your own. The bible teaches, "Six days shalt thou labor." God told Adam, "You will earn your bread by the sweat of your face all the days of your life." You're going to go out and you're going to work by the sweat of your brow by the sweat of your faith over and over again. The bible teaches that we should work hard and that we as men should go to our secular job and just give it everything we've got. "As unto to the Lord and not unto men." It's a huge priority. It should take priority over any kind of just recreation or fun things that we do.
It shouldn't take priority over the Lord but it should take a very high priority in our lives. Now, let me say this, just because there's a church activity, or something, you don't sacrifice your job to go to a church activity, or something. You know what I mean? If you can get the time off from your job and it's not problem, then yeah, by all means get the time off. Go on the church camping trip. Go on whatever church activity. Show up at that particular soul winning time. If you can get the time off. Honestly, you need to realize that your job is really important. Some people get this attitude well like, "I'm just going to focus on spiritual things so my job is just something that I have to do." They don't take their job that seriously. In reality, it's a big part of our lives as men, is the work that we do. It should take a very high priority in our lives.
We need to go to work and make money, pay our bills and provide for our wife and children. To be able to provide for the poor when they have needs. When people are struggling financially, we want to be able to reach into our pocket and give them money and help them out. People that we know that need something. Well guess what? You can't do that when you don't have any money and you're not going to work and bringing home the bacon. You're not going to have to give to those that don't have, if you're not working. It's important as men that we give a high priority to our job.
I personally made the decision, and again you've got to figure out your own priorities in you life. I personally have made the decision in my life that I would not work on Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I just wanted to be at all three services but let me make this really clear, it's not a sin ... it's not a sin to miss a church service. Now it is a sin to quit going to church. To just completely quit going to church, that's a sin because you're forsaking the assembling of yourselves together. There are people who come to church once a week, twice a week, three times a week, and you know what? I'm not going to sit there and say, "Hey, it's a sin for you not to come to all three." That would be adding to the word of God. I'm not going to sit there and teach for doctrines the commandments of men. Let me say this though, I believe that all three church services are important. I believe that all three church services will help your Christian growth. I don't go through life just trying to do the minimum, type of thing.
My goal is to try to be maximum. I believe that going to all three services is something ... that is what we should be doing ideally. Let me tell you something, I made a decision for myself personally and I wouldn't impose this on someone else, but I made the decision for myself personally a long time ago, long before I was ever pastoring. I'm trying to think of exactly when I made this decision. It was probably right around the time I got married 13, 14 years ago. I made the decision that I will go to all three services. That's going to be a priority and I'm not going to miss any services. When the church doors are open, I'm there. That's a priority and a decision that I made in my life.
I remember one time I didn't have a job. I just moved into a new area and I was struggling to find a job. I walked into a job and I was offered the job but they said you got to work on Wednesday night. I said, "You know what? I can work any other time. I'll work these hours" ... I said, "I don't work on Wednesday nights because I go to church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night and I just don't miss it." They said, "Sorry, because you got to work Wednesday night." I was like, "Oh man" then I ended up a couple days later getting a better job that paid a lot more money, that allowed me to be there at all three services.
Now that job that I got that paid more money, that allowed me to be at all three, that boss was always trying to get me to work on Wednesday nights. "Oh, you just got to do it just this one time. I really need your help." He would always quote that verse, he said you know if your ox or your ass falls in the ditch on the Sabbath day, you got to pull it out. This is one of those type of situations. Of course this guy, the way he ran the business, there was always an emergency like that. I mean this guy had oxes and asses falling in the ditch every day. But anyway, that's just the way he rolled. I told him, I just said, "No. I don't ... man, I will work all night. I'll do whatever you want but I'm not going to work Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday." Here's the thing about that, here's a tip. I've kept that and I've stayed wit that. Here's a tip about that. In order to be able to say to your boss, "I can't work Sunday morning, Sunday night or Wednesday night." You're going to have to be a good worker. You're going to have to give it 100% the rest of the time. You may have to do some things that are uncomfortable like working at night, working double shifts to make up for it.
I'll say this, if it comes down to, in your life, if it ... just listen to me now ... I don't want anybody to misunderstand this. I want you to just think about this and understand this. Think about it for yourself. Don't just listen to what I'm saying. Think about what the bible teaches and put it all together in your own mind. Think about this now, if it comes down to you not being able to support your family and you having to miss a Wednesday night or a Sunday, I would rather see you miss some Sunday nights and Wednesday nights to work than to see you not paying your bills and not supporting your family. Look, if you make ... the bible doesn't say, if you miss Sunday night and Wednesday night, your worse than an infidel. Does the bible say that? No, but does the bible say, "If you don't provide for your own?" Yes, see what I'm saying?
We got to get our priorities ... I'm not saying to put work before the Lord. Look, if it came down to work is making me miss church all the time. Then I would say, "You know what? You need to just go to church. You can't work that job." But I'm saying that if it came down to hey, not supporting my family or missing some church, I'd miss some services. I'd support my family and pay my bills. I'm not talking about being rich or making a bunch of extra overtime and whatever. I'm talking about just a basically supporting yourself and your family. That's important too. I'll say this, you goal should be to work hard and to be a good worker that's an asset to your job, to where they'll be glad to let you take those times off. You can say to them, "Hey I need Wednesday night off." Like I said, for me it's not optional. For me, it's not negotiable. I don't ever miss church unless I'm ill and I can't make it here. I've decided to be at all three.
I worked a business for many years where I had to travel and I would literally fly home for Wednesday night service and then fly back because I was the pastor. Here's the thing, when I wasn't the pastor, and I had to work out of town, no problem. I would go to church in that town. There's nothing to say you have to go to Faithful Word Baptist Church but if you're working in Timbuktu, you need to go to Timbuktu Baptist while you're there. Eric is a perfect example, he's here from California, he's in church and that's great. I actually used to enjoy that about traveling for work because you get to visit other churches. It's fun to see other churches. I used to do that. Now, when you're the pastor, you just need to fly home and be here all the time. I've that done that many times where I've hopped on a plane, flown home, preached on Wednesday night, fly back because I'm the pastor I couldn't just visit Timbuktu Baptist when I was there.
We need to make it a priority to be in church but also paying our bills is a priority. We don't want to get so busy at our job where it just becomes all about making money. It becomes all about just succeeding in the world and we're neglecting spiritual things just to amass wealth. There's a difference between amassing wealth and supporting yourself. You see that? So we've got to learn how to juggle these things in our life and decide what's important. That's why I said I can't really lay out your life for you. I can't really tell you, "Hey you need to do this, this ... " You need to learn these biblical principals and you need to understand that hey, God's word needs to be a priority in my life. Going to church needs to be a priority in my life. Working my job needs to be a priority in my life and I need to put church first and then job, unless I'm not paying my bills and feeding my family. Then I need to do something drastic to do that. Does everybody understand? That's what I'm trying to get across. Again, you make your own decisions. I'm just throwing out the principles there.
I believe that soul winning is a priority also. Going out and evangelizing. That's what our life should be all about. That's why we're here on this earth. Otherwise we might as well go to heaven if we're not going to reach others with the Gospel. I would put soul winning as a real high priority. The great thing about soul winning is that it doesn't have to be done on any particular day or any particular time. Even the official soul winning times of our church, we have five different official soul winning times listed here. Even if they didn't fit your schedule on one day, something here has got to work for you. If not that, then you could just find a buddy at church and just arrange with them and get together with them and do you own soul winning time. I know there are a lot of people who will go out soul winning on a Tuesday night, a Thursday night, something that's not even in the bulletin because they're just getting together and going soul winning. That's another option. There's really no excuse to not get out soul winning in Faithful Word Baptist Church. You've got an abundance of people to go with you. You've got all these official times that you could show up at. I think soul winning should be a priority.
All kinds of other priorities in our lives. When we think about our money, what we do with our money. That should also be prioritized. Our money should go to the right place. I like that Brother Romero did a short sermon on this in the preaching class, where he talked about just working hard at your job and prioritizing your money, paying your bills. We need to be smart with the way that we prioritize our money. First of all, the tithe is the Lord's. Give the Lord what is due unto him, 10%. But then I'll ... once we have the money that's left, the thing that should be a priority is to pay for your house or your rent or whatever it is and food. Those are the priorities, not all the ... not your cell phone bill. Like, "Yeah I got to pay my cell phone bill." First you pay your house payment, then you pay your food. Those are the things ... remember what Jesus said, one thing's needful. You need a house to live in and food to eat. Shelter and food are some of your basic human needs.
You got your shelter and your food, then you pay your bills. Those are things that you signed your name to and agreed to and you pay your utilities or whatever bills. Then once you've paid your bills, then whatever money you have left, that's your discretionary spending that you can use on whatever. Your fun money, as it were, that you can use on this, that or the other. Buy things that are maybe kind of necessary but that you can survive without them. Like Brother Romero said, "You can always sit in your dark, warm house ... I would say dark, cold house but we live in Arizona ... you can always live in your dark, warm house and eat food. You know, but if you don't have the house and you don't have the food, but your cell phone works, that's a bad situation.
You got to prioritize what you pay for and do the most important things first. We've got time in our lives. We've got 168 hours in the week. "Pastor Anderson how do you things done?" Because there are things that I purposely neglect because they're not important. There are things that I don't neglect because they are important. The number one thing I don't neglect is reading my bible. First of all, I love reading the bible. Second of all, I know how important it is that I keep reading the bible. That's something that's not going to get neglected. Some things that I ... you say, "What do you neglect Pastor Anderson?" Some things that I've neglected, I would say I used to when I would preach about this I would always use my car as the illustration. I would always say I neglect cleaning my car because I had the dirtiest car. I would work out of car and I would sleep in the car on work trips. So my car ... who was ever in my car back in the days when my car was just trashed? Yeah. So I ... All my kids have their hands up ... I had this car that was trashed. People would always ask me, "How do you get it done?" I'd just say, "Look at my car. See the time that you spent cleaning your car, I was doing all the stuff that you wonder how I get it done."
What I'm saying is, there are things in our life that just aren't really that important. Sometimes you just have to neglect those. Here's one thing that I ... you say, "Well, what do you neglect now?" Well, I don't even have a car. Now I don't have to spend any time cleaning it because I don't have a car. We have the van that my wife drives but basically, what do I neglect now as pastor? Answering the phone. I mean, literally. I get like ten voice mails on the church phone number every day. I don't even listen to most of them. You say, "[inaudible 00:35:34] you need to listen to those messages." Here's the thing though, there's a lot of other things I need to be doing too though.
I get hundreds and hundreds of emails to the church. I get a bunch of phone calls to the church and it ... look, in a perfect world I would love to just answer every phone call. Just respond to every email but you know what though? Is that really the most important thing for me in my life? Am I going to neglect reading my bible, praying, studying for my sermon, soul winning, spending time with my wife, spending time with my children ... and here's thing, taking care of the people actually come to the church. Here's the thing, people often say, "Oh man I called you and called you and I could never get ahold of you and I emailed you and can't get ahold of you." But here's the thing, whenever those people show up at the church, I always, "Yeah, let's talk." And I'll talk to them for as long as they want to talk. Why? Because they actually came. I have priorities that say if you come to the church, you're more important than just a person who's calling or emailing. Doesn't that make sense that I would actually spend more time ... so here's the thing, when people from church call me, I answer the phone. I give them the real phone number. You know, at any rate, not the one that goes to a message 24 hours a day.
I do listen to the messages. Every couple of months I'll sit down and listen to as many of them as I can. What I'm saying is, I'd rather pick up the phone when my church member calls, that's actually part of the flock here, that's part of our family here, the church family ... calls me up and I answer the phone and I can be there to talk to them or help them with what they need, whatever their needs are. I'd rather spend my time shepherding the 120, 130 people who actually come here on a Sunday morning, than to just answer the phone to everybody. Look, they're a lot of nice people who call and there are also a lot of weirdos who call. It's a big time waster. Lot of weirdo emails, a lot of really nice emails. I do read read the emails, usually. Unless they're those people who write a really long email and they don't divide it into paragraphs at all. It's just this one long block of text. I'm just like, [inaudible 00:37:54] forget this.
I'm just saying there are things ... and look, I'm not saying that I should be neglecting phone calls and I should be neglecting my email. But you know what? You're just going to find in life, sometimes you just have to neglect stuff. Just so that you can do the stuff that's really important. I don't want it to be said ... I'd rather have it said, "Hey that Pastor Anderson man, he doesn't answer the phone, he won't call you back, he won't respond to emails, he doesn't respond to snail mail. That guy needs a secretary. That guy just, he isn't taking care of that at all." I'd rather have that said than, "You know, Pastor Anderson really neglects his wife. Pastor Anderson neglects his children. Pastor Anderson neglects to read the bible, that's why his sermons are so shallow. That's why he's always saying things that aren't true and preaching false doctrine. I think he just neglects to read the bible. You know, Pastor Anderson neglects his church members. When they need him, he won't talk to them, he won't help them, he doesn't have anything for them.' I don't want that to be said.
You got to choose, I'm just trying to illustrate to you, you choose what's important to you and what's not. Now you say, "Well, Pastor Anderson you could do all that. You could do all that stuff. You have 168 hours." Here's the other thing, I don't want to burn out. I don't want to crash and burn. I can't just spend my whole life just work, work, work, work, serve, serve, serve, serve, go, go, go, go, because I'm in this thing for the long haul. I don't want to crash and burn. Here's the thing, I spent a long time of my ministry, when I first started the church, in kind of a crash and burn trajectory. Where I was just always just hanging by a thread of just losing it. You know what I mean? I remember just praying, "God, you know, can I just make it through one more Sunday of this?" Because I just was trying to juggle too many things and pushing myself too hard. You know how it is?
I started pastoring the church and I instantly started two nursing home ministries. Every single Sunday I would preach four services. What in the world was I thinking? That's what I did when I started the church. I preached Sunday morning. I'd drive to one nursing home, run a whole church service there. Drive to another nursing home, run another church service. Sunday night run another church service. Every Monday morning I had no voice left. I'm flying here, driving there for work, trying to work full-time, pastor full-time, doing all that. Here's one of the things that I took zero care of, my health. I was just ... if you look at pictures of me back then, I look like death warmed over. I wasn't eating right because I'm just in a hurry all the time, rushing around, just eating whatever, from a gas station or whatever. I was eating all kinds of junk, not getting any exercise, not sleeping right. Just sleep deprived all the time. Just go, go, go. You know what though? You can't live your entire life that way. You have to take some time to actually take care of the needs of your body so that you don't crash and burn, mentally or physically.
You've got to just decide for yourself what's important to you. If I had to go back, I wouldn't change any of it because of the fact that when you're starting a church, that's just kind of the way life is. If you're going to start a church, you're going to be full-time starting that church, which is a really hard thing to get off the ground. You're going to be full-time at your job. There are periods in our life where we go through times where you just have to really push yourself hard. The world does it to get a college education. They'll go and they'll work a full-time job, go to school full-time. They do it for a corruptible crown. They do it for financial gain. Let me say this, there are times in our life where we have to really push ourselves and work hard and burn the candle at both ends. But you can't just live your life that way forever or you're going to crash and burn. You got to take some care of yourself. You got to live a life that's sustainable going forward.
Also, I didn't get as much time with my family during those times. That's important too. We've go to decide for ourselves based on scriptural principles, what can I handle? What's important to me? What am I getting done? People are just spending a lot of time on stuff that's just not that important. Then they're neglecting stuff that really important.
Let me just give you some examples. If you think about how much time people spend just surfing the internet or keeping up on the news. Here's the thing, I'm not against you keeping up on the news if that's how you like to blow off steam. If that's what you like to do to blow off a little steam and that's going to help you not to crash and burn. It's just your good, clean way of just read the news or whatever ... but honestly, it's not important that you follow the news. It's not ... let me say it this way ... it's not needful. There's nothing in the bible that says, "You need to follow the news. You need to stay up on current events. You need to know everything about politics." Here's the thing, it might be wise for you to just say, "You know what? I don't have time for that." I'd rather keep up on church and reading the bible than all the developments in the news.
Here's what I've noticed about the news, is that there's nothing new under the sun. Everything that's just so urgent right now and it's just breaking right now, it's just happening right now, you can ignore the news for like six months and come back to it and all the same stuff .. I mean look, I haven't listened to the news in months. I don't even care but I guarantee you there's something brewing over in the middle east right now. Am I right about that? There's something going on with Israel. There's something going on with the Arabs, right? I don't even have to ... North Korea is going to nuke somebody tomorrow or something. I'm just saying it seems like it just never changes. I haven't been following the domestic politics at all but I can already just predict it. You can probably perceive that I'm a prophet. I can predict right now that, let me guess. We got to raise the debt ceiling. It's like every two months, every ... raise the debt ceiling, raise the debt ceiling. The national debt is out of control. It's spiraling out of control. The republicans and democrats and the republicans are going to cave in to the democrats and raise the debt ceiling.
It's like a broken record, my friend. It's probably really not adding that much to your life. By the way, it's all controlled media anyway. You think we have a free media in this country? It's all owned by the same people. It's a few corporations. It's a few multimillionaire Jews that own the whole thing and just control everything that you hear. They're the ones ... that's why you hear about Israel every day. Okay? Because it's all a Zionist controlled media. The bottom line is, we as Christians should be thinking more about the things that are above than the things of this world. I'd much rather pick up this book than a newspaper. I'd much rather go to church and listen the preaching of God's word than to listen to talk radio. Whether it be the conservative or the liberal talk radio, it's all controlled, it's all biased, it's all not from a biblical perspective.
Again, like I said, if that's your hobby, I'm not trying to mess with your hobby. If this is something that just takes a little of your time to blow off a little steam, you can have that hobby, if that's what you like. I'm just saying that's something that you could cut out of life because it's really just not that important. Some people spend a long time on it. They'll listen to it for hours. They'll read it for hours. It's a big part of their life.
Another thing that people waste time on is video games. Here's the thing, video games for adults, really? I mean, spend a little time on video games. Again, if you spend a tiny amount of time on video games as your ... that's how you blow off some steam or whatever. Well, if I were you, I'd pick something a little more active to blow off steam. Hey, whatever. I'll say this though, I don't know anybody who just plays video games a little bit. Seems like video games is one of those things that you either don't play as an adult or that you play a lot. They just spend a lot of time and money and many, many hours being sedentary, sitting on your lazy rear end in front of a screen playing games that have no profit to you physically, mentally, or spiritually. It's not doing anything for you. It's not making you any smarter. It's not ... you're not going to get any rewards in heaven for beating Contra without using any of the continues. You're not going to get any kind of financial gain from it. It's not going to make your wife think you're a stud. It's just not going to.
No woman wants to be married to a guy who spends a lot of time playing video games. It's getting quiet in here brother. Where are the amens now? You know what, they don't. There's nothing manly about it or mature about it. You know, it's an addiction. Look, I played a lot of video games in my day. I'm not getting up here saying that I never played video games. You know what? When I became a man I put away childish things. The only time that I play video games as an adult really, I'm just going to be honest with you. I'm going to confess my sins tonight when I play video games as an adult. Sometimes when I used to fly a lot and I hated flying and get kind of claustrophobic and antsy on the plan. Sometimes I would play a video game on the airplane to make the flight go by faster. After I'd read my bible, after I'd read the vomit bag, after I'd read all the in-flight magazines, after I'd read like everything and done every New York Times crossword puzzle. All the easy crossword puzzles. Sometimes I would break down and play video games on that plane.
But you know what though, honestly, it's not a mature thing for a grown adult man to be spending time on. Playing video ... especially not in the quantities that we see people playing. I know people ... there's a guy that I heard about recently, a friend of mine told me, that someone he knew ... their wife was threatening to commit suicide because the husband was so addicted to video games. She was on antidepressants. She was threatening to kill herself because she was just so upset about here husband just goes in the basement on a video game, all the time. He's not spending any time with her. He's not taking an interest in her. It's just all about the game. Honestly, I can tell you this, when I a child, I was addicted to video games as a child. Big time. Who was addicted to video games as a child? I don't use the word addicted lightly. I mean I'm saying there were days when I woke up and all I did the whole day was play that video game. I ate ... I'd pause it and use the bathroom and that's it. For an entire day. I'm not exaggerating.
I'm talking about you'd go to bed at night and close your eyes and the video game was still ... the flashing was still there. You'd lay in bed at night ... when I wake up, "When with shall I rise, I will seek it yet again." You're literally laying there at night thinking about your strategies tomorrow morning. What you're going to do in that game. I mean, have you been there? Here's the thing, when I was a kid the video games weren't even that cool. When I was a kid, they weren't even like ... today they're just crazy. I showed my kids, I was like, "Hey, I'm going to show you guys the type of video games that I played when I was a kid." So I showed them for a couple of minutes. I was like, "Yeah this is the game I played when I was a kid." They're like, "This is really like low budget, low tech." I'm like, "This was the coolest thing ever when I was a kid." I showed them like the most cutting edge, I mean Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo. The 16 bit system. It was like, they're looking at it like, "What in the world?" Back then it was cool.
It was just ... when I was a kid we were addicted to games that were harder to get addicted to. This stuff now is pretty easy. It's designed to get you addicted to it. It's all role playing games and it's tied in with the internet and all that. You got to be careful not to just waste your time on dumb things. That's why you're not getting things done. I got to hurry ... I got a little bit off target there.
Let me just get to my last point here. Go to first Samuel 15. I'm going to show you firsthand in 15, I'm going to show you some stuff in Proverbs. I got a little carried away on that video game point. See it's addictive even when you're preaching. You start talking about video games. You just can't stop.
So number one, just a quick recap, she made God's word the priority in her life. As a pastor, God's word's got to be the priority. As a Christian, man, woman, boy, girl, remember Mary was not a man. Mary was not a preacher. Mary was not a pastor. She made the word of God a priority in her life. So don't say this sermon is for men, that's why he's talking about video games. Listen, this sermon is for ladies as well as men. Ladies also need to have time everyday to read their bible. Ladies also need to make it a priority to learn the bible and know what it says. I know you're busy with the housework. I know you're busy raising children and homeschooling but how are you going to raise your children properly if you don't know what the bible says? You got to spend the time reading so that you can teach them properly.
Firstly, she made the word of God a priority. Number two, she chose the spiritual over the physical. Number three, she chose the essential over the nonessential. Working your job, essential. Paying your bills, essential. Going to church, essential. Video games, nonessential. Checking the news, nonessential. Listening to talk radio, not essential. Then fourthly, she chose obedience over sacrifice. Obedience over sacrifice.
Look at first Samuel 15:22, it says, "And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king." Go to Proverbs 15. What's he saying there? Obedience is better that sacrifice.
That's what Cain learned, by the way. Cain brought an offering unto the Lord. He made a sacrifice of fruits and vegetables. It was not acceptable to God because he was not obeying God. He was sacrificing. He was working hard but it wasn't what God had asked him to do. We see Martha in the kitchen working hard, making a sacrifice of her time and energy to do something for the Lord but the Lord said, "No, it's more necessary to sit and listen to me right now." I say Mary chose obedience over sacrifice. She was actually doing what the Lord wanted her to do versus just doing a bunch of stuff for the Lord that she wanted to do. She said, "This is how I'm going to serve the Lord." That was Cain's problem. Cain said, "I'm going to serve the Lord the way I want." God said, "No, serve me the way that I told you to serve me."
Now look at Proverbs chapter 15. This verse kind of tied in too when I was thinking about this. It says in verse 16, "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Now think about this because this kind of fits in with the kitchen theme of the Mary and Martha story. Martha's spending a lot of time in the kitchen. She was probably making a pretty good meal. She's probably making an amazing meal in the kitchen, right? That's great. But here's the thing though, there are other things that are more important than just having a great meal.
It says here, "Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." Now this point could actually be applied to male or female. If we were to think about for example, in a marriage or in a home life, the stalled ox ... in order to have a stalled ox for dinner, that's going to require the husband to go out and make some money, right?. To bring home that bacon. To bring home that stalled ox. What this is saying here, we could apply this in Proverbs 15 that ... you know what? Let's say your a man who goes out and makes a whole lot of money but you don't love your wife and you don't show love unto your wife. You're kind of missing the one thing that's needful in your marriage. You know what? Your wife would probably rather have a dinner of herbs and that you love her. Right?
Basically it's saying it's better to have a dinner of herbs where love is than an stalled ox and hatred therewith. But then you could also flip this around to the women and say, "You know what, preparing that stalled ox is probably a lot more work than just making a salad." The dinner of herbs, as it were. Then again, rather ... your husband would probably rather have the dinner of herbs and a loving wife without all the trouble therewith and the hatred therewith. So what am I saying? Prioritizing. What's important? What's necessary?
There are a lot of scriptures in the book of Proverbs about women. Proverbs is a book that has a lot to do with women. It's written unto young men. So it talks a lot about ... I mean the first nine chapters of Proverbs really talk a lot about avoiding the strange woman. Avoiding fornication. Avoiding adultery. Just not being sucked in by that. Then there's also a lot of talk about finding the right kind of wife. There's a whole chapter, Proverbs 31, the final chapter of Proverbs is really dedicated about finding the right kind of a wife. The virtuous woman and so forth. When we think about this story about Mary and Martha, it's a story about women. Right? Mary's a woman, Martha's a woman. So there's a lot of application for women.
Go if you would to Proverbs 11:22. Let me just show you some of these scriptures here in Proverbs that have to do with women. It says is Proverbs 11:22, "As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout," now that's not a very complimentary thing to say about a woman, is it? "A jewel of gold so is a fair woman which is without discretion." Now fair there means beautiful. So the bible is saying that a beautiful woman who is without discretion, that like putting jewel in a swine's snout. That's not a pretty sight. You're not fixing the image of a filthy swine by just putting a little jewel in it's nose. See how beautiful it is now? That doesn't fix it. Here's how we can apply to this. When we talk about priorities and sitting at the feet of Jesus, think about how many women put so much work into their physical appearance. Here the bible's saying a fair woman that doesn't have discretion, your decorating something that's ugly and it's not working.
What the bible is teaching with this story about Mary and Martha is that it's important to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn. I wonder how many women in America today spend more time on make-up and adornment than they do reading their bible. Think about that because there is some women that spend a long time getting ready in the morning. Now, my wife is not one of them, thank God. My wife doesn't just spend a lot of time just adorning herself and I thank God for that. She's naturally beautiful. But let me say this, there are women who spend one hour or two hours every day just adorning themselves with make-up and just primping and preening and everything else. That is not as important as a lot of other things in your life.
If you're spending 15 minutes reading your bible and you're spending two hours on the outside. The inside's more important. I think that's what Proverbs is teaching. He says also in Proverbs 12:4, the next page it says, "A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones." The bible says over and over there are all kinds of scriptures in Proverbs just about the wrong kind of wife and just how much ... what a burden that is unto her husband, to be the wrong kind of wife. We were on the men for a while in the video game thing, not paying your bills thing, everything like that. There's a lot in Proverbs for example, it says in Proverbs 21:9, it says, "It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house." It says in verse 19, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." What's that saying? No matter how nice the house is, and no matter how nice the meal is, if the woman is contentious and angry and brawling and hateful, it's not worth it. It's not worth the trade-off.
So what are we saying here? Priorities. Spend time on that which is important. If you want to be a good husband, you need to provide, you need to love your wife, you need to read your bible, you need to be a spiritual leader. If you want to be a good wife, you need to study your bible, you need to follow God's word, and you need to obey your husband and not be contentious and angry and fighting all the time. These are the needful, necessary things. There are so many things that God tells us to do in the bible and commands us to do. That's what we need to be doing and obeying those things, not just making a big sacrifice of our time.
Think about this, what if I did all kinds of stuff for my wife to make her feel really loved and I wrote her all kinds of poems and handwritten cards but I didn't pay the bills? That's not cool. "Oh honey" she like, "Are you going to get a job? Are you going to pay the bills?" It's like "Well, hold on, I wrote you a song." She's like, "What in the world?" She'd be like, "You need to get your butt to work. What are you doing you lazy jerk." She's not going to say ... do you see what I'm saying? We can flip the thing around and let's say the wife says, "You know I cooked you all this awesome food, now I'm going to chew you out while you eat it. You chew the food and I'll chew you." He's not going to appreciate that because there are certain things that the husband wants from his wife. There are certain things that the wife wants from her husband and that's what they need to provide. There are certain things that God wants from us. We need to give that to him. You know what he wants more than anything else? He wants us to listen. That's what a lot of husbands and wives want. They want their husband to listen to them or they want their wife to listen to them.
God wants us to listen to him. He said, "You know, Mary's actually listening. That's the best thing she could be doing right now. It's great that you're serving, but you know what? You need to listen to what I'm saying. You need to pay attention to the word." I hope that ... I have other points but I'm out of time. Just use this sermon hopefully just to prioritize your life and be a Mary, don't be a Martha. Be a Mary that says, "Oh it's always my priority. I always read the word. That's number one to know what the bible says. I always am going to choose spiritual things more than than carnal things. I always have to do the essential things and I can throw out some of these nonessentials that just don't matter. I'm always going to choose obedience over sacrifice." Keep the main thing, the main thing.
Let's bow our heads now for the prayer. Father we thank you so much Lord for your word and for this great story. It's really, it's one of my favorite stories Lord about Mary and Martha. I really like this story because it's just such a great picture of Mary just sitting at your feet and just listening to you. Just really caring about what you say. Lord help all of us to car about what you say and what you tell us to do and to be the best Christians that we can be. The best husbands. The best wives. The best parents, Lord. The best children. Please just help us to put this into practice.