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Lord, I Want You!
Lord I Want You
Luke 10:38-39
 
 
There are five occasions in the book of Luke that we find someone at the feet of Jesus. We see a woman weeping at His feet (7:38), a man sitting at His feet (8:35), a ruler falling at His feet (8:41), a leper praising at His feet (17:15-16), and Mary listening at His feet (10:39).
      
Each of these scenes of someone at the feet of Jesus is worth one's attention and consideration. The reason why we find each of these individuals at the feet of Jesus is both enlightening and encouraging. Yet of all the individuals we find at the feet of Jesus, none speak to the heart anymore than Mary.
      
Mary was the sister of Martha and Lazarus. She is distinguished from other Mary's in the Bible as "Mary of Bethany." Herbert Lockyer calls her "The woman everlastingly remembered."1
 
The most interesting feature of Mary's life is that each time you find her mentioned in the Bible she is always at the feet of Jesus.  In Luke 10:39, she is found sitting at His feet. In John 11:32, she is found falling at His feet. In John 12:3, she is found bowing at His feet. Her favorite place was at the feet of Jesus. At His feet was a common occurrence in Mary's life.
      
Each time we find Mary at the feet of Jesus there is a blessed and precious quality about her heart that is revealed.
* In Luke 10 her actions she seems to say, "Lord, I want You."
* In John 11 her actions she seems to say, "Lord, I need You."
* In John 12 her actions she seems to say, "Lord, I love You."
      
In our study I want us to consider these three occasions Mary is found at the feet of Jesus.
 
In our first study I want us to look at the first of these three occasions.
 
Luke 10:39
 
In her actions we hear Mary saying, "Lord, I want you." Mary wanted to be near and close to her Lord. Her deepest desire was to be at His feet.  She wanted to live close to Him and learn more about Him. She wanted to be in His presence.
      
The words of the songwriter are descriptive of Mary:
 
More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love Who died for me.
 
As we consider Mary's desire to be near and close to Jesus, I want us to put our desire for the Lord on trial. Does our heart cry out, "Lord, I want you?" Is there a deep burning, passionate, ardent desire to be near Christ, to be close to Him, and to know Him better? Is there a longing to be in His presence?
      
 
 
Fanny Crosby wrote:
 
Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.
 
Is that your prayer? Is that your desire? Does your heart cry out, "Lord, I want you? I want to be near you! I want to live in your presence! I want to sit at your feet! I want to hear your word! I want to know you!" 
      
As we look at this familiar story we see three features about Mary's desire to be near her Lord and learn more of Him. The depth and length of her desire is highlighted by the actions of her sister Martha.
 
The two words in verse 40, "But Martha," place Martha as a contrast to Mary.  It is the contrasts between these two sisters that the Holy Spirit uses to drive home the lessons of this story.
      
We see first of all:
 
1. BEING AT HIS FEET WAS FOREMOST IN HER DESIRES!
 
The desire that Mary had to be near Jesus and learn of Jesus exceeded all other desires. Her chief desire was to be close to her Lord. In the scene before us we see the difference between good desires and greater desires. The contrast we see in these two sisters is the difference between "His" and "Him."
      
 
We see first of all that Martha Opened Her Home To the Lord. 
 
Luke 10:38
 
We find our Lord visiting the town of Bethany. Jesus was very close to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and no doubt one of the first places He stopped was at their home. Martha gladly welcomed Him into their home.
      
How thrilled Martha must have been to have Jesus in her home. How excited she must have been to have Him visit. The word "received" means to "admit under one's roof for the purpose of entertaining."
 
I can imagine Martha saying, "Lord, it so good to have you with us. You will stay for dinner? You go in the living room and make yourself at home while I put something on stove." Martha opened her home to the Lord. In Martha we see a welcomed Lord.  The Lord ought to be a welcomed guest in any life, home, or Church.
      
But look at the contrast:
 
Martha opened Her home to the Lord, but Mary Opened Her Heart to the Lord
 
In Martha we see a welcomed Lord, but in Mary we see a wanted Lord.
 
Luke 10:39
 
Martha desired to have Him present, but Mary desired to be in His presence. Martha was thrilled to have Jesus in the house, but Mary wanted to sit at His feet. She wanted to be near Him and hear Him. Martha's desire to have Him in her home was good, but Mary's desire to be close to Him and learn of Him was greater. Mary's desire to be near Jesus exceeded all other desires. Martha was in the kitchen, but Mary was at His feet. The only thing she wanted was to sit at His feet and hear His word.
      
What is your chief desire in life? What is it that you want more than anything else? What is the great passion of your life?
 
For some it is to do well in life. I would say that is a good desire. For some it is to have nice things in life. I would say that is a good desire and certainly the Bible does not condemn having nice things. But the desire that should exceed all other desires is to be close to the Lord and live at His feet.
      
I think of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:31, "Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?"  Jesus spoke of food, fashion, and finances.
 
All these things are often the great concerns and desires of our life. We all desire to eat well, dress well, and do well. But Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
      
That which should be our greatest concern and the chief desire of our hearts is seeking the Lord. Our desire for the Lord ought to exceed all other desires. Our heart ought to cry out, "Lord, I want to know you. I want to be close to you."
      
For Mary, being at His feet was foremost in her desires.  Secondly we see:
 
2. BEING AT HIS FEET WAS FIRST IN HER PRIORITIES!
 
Another contrast we see in these sisters is that one is coming apart and one has come apart. One is distracted and the other is delighted. In one we see that the priority was "His" and in the other the priority was "Him."
      
First we see Martha Distracted With Many Things.  
 
Luke 10:40
 
I can imagine she had beans on the stove, bread in the oven, and steaks on the grill. I can see her running around the kitchen trying to do several things at the same time.  I can hear her saying, "The beans need stirring, the bread needs buttering, and the steaks need turning, the tomatoes need cutting, and the table needs arranging." She is doing this and doing that. She is running here and running there. She's got this to do and that to do.
      
I read about a little fellow that entered a grocery store one-day and asked the grocer for a box of Duz detergent. The grocer asked him what he wanted with a box of Duz. The little fellow said he was going to wash his cat. The grocer said, "Young man, you shouldn't wash your cat with this kind of soap."
 
But the little fellow insisted it would be okay. A few days later the little fellow returned. The grocer asked about the cat. "Oh, he died," said the little fellow.
 
The grocer responded, "I told you not to wash you cat with that Duz detergent."
 
The little fellow replied, "The soap didn't hurt him a bit! The spin cycle got him."
 
I am sure Martha felt as if she was in a spin cycle. She was distracted with many things.
      
But we see Mary Devoted to One Thing.
 
Yes, there were many things to be done. There were many things Mary could have been doing. But she laid all of them aside for a while to sit at the feet of Jesus. There were many important things to do and things that were a priority. But the first priority in her life was to spend time with Jesus. Martha was concerned about "His dinner," but Martha was interested in just "Him."
      
On one occasion Charles Schwab was president of Bethlehem Steel. One day Schwab said to a consultant named Ivy Lee, "Show me a way to get more things done with my time."
 
Schwab agreed to pay him "anything within reason" if Lee's suggestion worked. Lee later handed him a sheet of paper with a simple plan that turned the Bethlehem Steel Corporation into the biggest independent steel producer in the world within 5 years. What was the plan?
      
"Write down the most important tasks you have to do tomorrow. Number them in order of importance. When you arrive in the morning begin at once on No.1 and stay on it until it is completed.
 
Recheck your priorities, and then begin with No.2 . . . then No.3. Make this a habit every working day.
 
Pass it on to those under you. Try it as long as you like, then send me a check for what you think it is worth."
 
Several weeks after receiving the note Schwab sent Lee a check for $25,000 stating that it was the most profitable lesson he had ever learned.
 
There are many that need to make a list of priorities. There needs to be settled in every life and in every day what is the most important.
 
May I say that No.1 on that list should be spending time with the Lord.  Someone might be saying, "I don't have time." I want to say sometimes, "Don't have time or won't make time?"
      
Years ago Charles Hummel wrote an article entitled, "The Tyranny of the Urgent." He made this statement: "We all think we need a thirty-hour day to cope with life. But would a thirty-hour day really solve the problem? Wouldn't we be just as frustrated as we are now with our twenty-four hour allotment? Our dilemma goes deeper than shortage of time. It is basically the problem of priorities."
      
The first priority of Mary's life was to spend time with Jesus and sit at His feet.
 
Notice Luke 10:40
 
Notice carefully Martha's statement, "my sister hath left me to serve alone."
 
Her statement seems to suggest that Mary had been helping her, but had left her to sit at Jesus feet. To Mary sitting at His feet was more important than cooking His food.
      
Is spending time with the Lord, hearing His Word, and sitting at His feet a priority to you?  To Mary it was her first priority. Last of all we see:
 
Being at his feet was
 
Foremost in her desires, first in her priorities and
 
3. BEING AT HIS FEET WAS FOUNDATIONAL IN HER PRACTICE!
 
What our Lord said to Martha and said about Mary is one of the greatest lessons that any Christian and worker for God can ever learn.
 
He condemned the absence of a certain kind of behavior in Martha and commended the presence of a certain practice and behavior in Mary.
 
We see Martha serving and Mary sitting. Martha in this story could be described as the worker and Mary as the worshipper. Martha's work was important. But Mary's worship was indispensable.
      
 We are first reminded that Worship Is Demanded
 
Almost without fail, when his passage is taught or preached, I just get ready because some of the “Marthas in the church will be making their way to me to tell me how lazy everyone else is and how if they didn’t wash the dishes and vacuum the floors it would never get done!
Not that forceful, but only because they are sophisticated!  Their pride would like to say that!
 
But I want to remind you of something found here in verse 42 Jesus said to Martha, "But one thing is needed."
 
One thing was needed at it wasn’ cooking the meal or washing the dishes.
 
The word "needed" speaks of a "requirement, demand, an employment."
 
What Mary was doing was something the Lord required, prescribed and demanded. It was part of her spiritual employment. Sitting at the feet of Jesus, as we have noticed, must be a priority of our life. One reason it must be a priority is because it is required of us.
      
Now when you look at this story it is obvious that Martha is totally wrapped up in working.  And not just working, but serving Jesus.
 
I think it would be safe to say her passion and priority was to do something for the Lord.
 
Let me say that her passion to serve the Lord is to be praised. Whereas, most of the time Martha is being condemned, I say she needs a pat on the back for her desire to serve the Lord.
      
Let me also say this was a good priority and a deserving priority. There are many that have invited Jesus into their hearts and home, but they are not doing anything for Him. The truth is, to many, serving the Lord is not a priority.
Many in their actions say to the Lord, "It's good to have you with us. I wish I had time to fix you a meal, but I've got to run here and I've got this to do.
 
One of these days I'm going to get around to fixing you a meal."  The Lord desires our service, deserves our service, and demands our service.
      
But if you read the story carefully you will notice that the Lord did not condemn Martha for what she was doing but for what she was not doing.
 
The Lord said to Martha in effect, "Martha, Martha. You are so upset about all the things you have to do. Martha, I appreciate all you are doing for Me, but there is something you are not doing. You are not spending time with Me!"
 
The Lord is not condoning laziness. He is condemning busyness. I remind you that just as the Lord requires us to work, He also requires us to worship. There must not only be time spent for God, but time spent with God. It is required.
      
Charles Wesley said it perfectly in one of his hymns:
 
Faithful to my Lord's commands
I still would choose the better part;
Serve with careful Martha's hands,
And loving Mary's heart.
 
Worship is Demanded, and we are also reminded that Worship Is Rewarded.
 
Notice what Jesus said to Martha in Luke 10:42,
 
 
Jesus said Mary had chosen the "good part." The word "good" speaks of that which is beneficial and profitable. Jesus was saying, "Martha, what Mary is doing is for her spiritual benefit and profit."
      
How does worship benefit us?
 
In the first place we see that it is of internal profit. What a contrast we see in Martha and Mary in how they were feeling. Notice how Jesus described Martha. He described her as anxious.
 
Jesus said, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful." The word "careful" means "anxious, pulled in different directions." Here was Martha running around like a chicken with its head cut off. She was filled with anxiety.
      
Jesus also described her as agitated. He spoke of her being "troubled." The word means, "to be thrown in an uproar."
 
She was so stressed out that finally she blew her top. She came running out of the kitchen and said to Jesus, "Lord, doest Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me" (Vs.40).
      
Jesus said to her, "Martha, Martha. You are so anxious and agitated. What you need is to spend time with Me." If we are filled with fear, fretfulness, frustration, you can mark it down; we haven't been spending time with Jesus. Someone has written:
 
 
 
 
We mutter and sputter,
We fume and we spurt;
We mumble and grumble,
And our feelings get hurt.
 
We can't understand things,
Our vision grows dim;
When all that we need,
Is a moment with Him.
 
In the second place we find that worship is of eternal profit.
 
Notice again Luke 10:42
 
Jesus was saying that what she was doing was of eternal quality and value. If our work for God is to be a work of God we must sit at the feet of Jesus. If there is to be an eternal quality about our life and service, we must sit at the feet of Jesus.  As someone has said, "The key to being right with God is not doing things for God. The key to doing things for God is being right with God." There must be a relationship if there is to be results.
      
There is an old story of two men who were chopping trees in the forest. The first man set a steady pace and worked all day without stopping. The second man worked equally hard, but took a few minutes on every hour to sit down and rest. At the end of the day the second man had cut twice as much wood as the first man.
 
The first man said, "I don't understand it. I have worked all day and didn't stop and you stopped every hour. How did you cut twice as much wood as I did?"
The second man said, "Yes, I stopped every hour but each time I stopped I sat down to sharpen my ax.
      
There are many who are serving God with a dull ax. Worship is the key to effective service. I often hear people say, "I know I need to spend time in prayer, studying God's Word, spending time in His presence, but I am so busy." We often measure ourselves spiritually by how much we are doing. But if we don't worship, our work will be ineffective.
      
AT THE FEET OF JESUS! Being at His feet should be foremost in our passions, first in our priorities, for it is foundational in our practice.
 
HAVE YOU BEEN SPENDING TIME AT JESUS FEET?
 

 

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