You’re probably involved in lots of things, but what’s your one thing?
AUGUST 31, 2023
Matt Heard: You’re probably involved in lots of things, but what’s your one thing? Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. If you’ve been trying to earn God’s approval, we invite you to hang out with us. Steve invited our friend Matt Heard to teach us all this week. Matt is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the author of Life with a Capital L.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. Well, it has been a great journey so far as we’ve together started sitting at the feet of Jesus, or at least talking about what that looks like. And it’s not going off to a monastery, it’s doing in the midst of our very real lives. We’re calling this week’s teaching, Calibrate: Sitting at the Feet of Jesus. And Herman Melville got us going if you missed out early in the week, where he writes in chapter 62 of his classic Moby Dick, The Dart describing the necessity of the harpooner to throw his harpoon, not out of exhaustion and toil, but out of quietness and stillness. In other words, if you get still long enough, instead of just rowing, rowing and rowing, and then throwing that harpoon, be still. And he’s the one that changed the whaling industry by saying, don’t make your harpooner or do all the rowing, let that harpooner or get set and ready so that when the moment comes, they can hurl that dart with accuracy. And so often we live our lives in reaction mode because we’re just exhausting, we’re surviving, instead of thriving. One of the reasons for that is we don’t spend any time getting still, sitting at the feet of Jesus. Our text that’s led us through this week is that story about Jesus visiting his really good friends, Mary and Martha and Lazarus. And as Jesus, Luke chapter 10: verse 38.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. And she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.” Martha, Martha the Lord answered, you’re worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed, for indeed only one. And Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
So, this whole quandary of Martha and Mary exists in some church circles where everybody says we don’t want to be the Martha, we want to be Mary. Actually, we want to be both. The problem is most of us err towards being like Martha doing all the stuff. A lot of it is good stuff, here Jesus is getting, Martha is getting dinner ready for Jesus and if she’s doing something good, but the timing is off and Jesus is affirming what Mary is doing. She’s sitting at his feet. The reason we’re calling this calibrate is because ships back during that same period that Moby Dick was written, they would calibrate their compasses by getting into a still harbor and just making sure they’re aligned with true North. And you know what? I need to do that, I’d say every 24 hours I need to do it more often than that. Sometimes it’s just real quick. But to say I want to, I want to sit down with Jesus. What does it look like when we do that? Well, we talked about stillness being necessary. And then we talked about submission, being a posture in the midst of that, where I’m malleable like soft Play-Doh. And then we looked at silence, letting him speak, not us. It’s getting into the word, but not to do a religious devotion, but to let the word lead me to him because he’s the one who brings me life. You know, meditation, there’s Eastern meditation is where we just empty the mind. Biblical meditation is where we fill our minds and our hearts, not just empty, but we listen, we receive. So, as we finish out the week, let’s look at one other practice of calibration of sitting at his feet. And I’m going to call it single mindedness. So, it’s not just stillness and submission and silence with his word filling us. But it’s single mindedness. Go back to that text. Jesus affirms Martha on something, he says, affirms Mary on something. He says.
Hey Martha, you’re worried and you’re upset about many things, but few things are needed. Indeed, only one. And Mary has chosen what’s better and it’s not going to be taken away from her.
You hear that? Jesus is saying there’s really only one thing that’s important. Everything else follows, flows from that. It doesn’t mean that you only do one thing, but the most important. And Mary’s made the right choice here. It involves sacrifice. You know, for every yes in my life, there’s a no. And Mary was saying yes to something, and as a result, she was saying no to some other things. Sometimes I need to say no to some of the busyness in order to say yes to that one thing. Have you ever watched kids, toddlers playing with toys. It’s really fun, especially when they’re not your kids and therefore you don’t get quite as stressed out with all of the selfishness that goes on. But there’s something else that will happen even when a child is alone in a room, if you put a lot of toys in there, sometimes they get distracted because they can’t, they go from one thing to the next, to the next, to the next, to the next. And a lot of us have almost a spiritual ADD about us, where It’s hard for us to focus on what is our ultimate need? What do I need more than anything? Ancient film history, City Slickers long ago, Curly, I remember speaking to Billy Crystal’s character. He said, you just got to learn the secret to life is one thing. And Billy Crystal’s character says, what is that one thing? The ancient cowboy says you’ve got to figure that out. But so often we miss the one thing and you know, David was somebody that was involved in real life and as I’m listening through your ears, sometimes the pushback can be, you know what? I got a real life to live. I don’t have time really to do this. Actually that’s when we most need to sit at the feet of Jesus. And Psalm 27:4 talks about David saying.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.
And that’s a continual posture, by the way, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord. And to seek him in his temple. And we hear that and say, this is where the stiff arm comes. Hold on Matt, that sounds great for David and you religious types, but I live in the real world. David actually is being pursued. He’s in a very real situation. He’s being pursued by an army who wants to kill him. They’re advancing against him. And so he says, the one thing that I need right now, and we’d say, of course, we know the one thing it’s to get out of there. He says, no.
The one thing that I need is to dwell with God in the midst of the situation.
It doesn’t mean escaping, but it means engaging in whatever I’m dealing with, with the enoughness of God. I mean, there are a number of things, there’s a direction that David is talking about there where he’s got that one thing identified and he said, he knows ultimately what I need more than anything else is an intimacy with Jesus that invades all the nooks and crannies of my life. Again, it’s not going off to a monastery, but it’s saying the way that I’m going to deal with my stress, my self worth, my desire for security, my yearning for significance and meaning the way that I’m a handle my pain, I’ve got to bring it to him. And understand that ultimately as I need him, you know, Jesus said in Matthew 6.
Don’t worry saying what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear for the pagans run after all these things. They run after them. They define their lives by those things. Ultimately, he says, but your heavenly father knows that you need them, but seek first his kingdom and his righteousness. And all of these things will be given to you as well.
So, I’m seeking him first and prioritizing that intimacy with him while I’m in the boardroom, while I’m on the athletic field, while I’m at the funeral, while I’m in the hospital receiving that bad news. My ultimate one thing that I need is to be experiencing his smile, to experience his enoughness. It doesn’t mean that at times that he’s not smiling or there’s times that he’s not enough. But am I experiencing it? Am I engaging? Am I being dependent and saying, I’m asking, I’m asking for this from the Lord. But he also says, this only do I seek. So, it’s not just a matter of direction, I need to have a diligence that says, all right, I’m going to align the schedule of of my day to make sure that I’m consciously seeking after what God wants me to know about the goodness of the gospel, the reality of grace, the sufficiency of his truth. You know, there’s a difference between a glass of water being offered to me in the desert and at a party. If I’m in the desert, I’m going to be very diligent in taking it. And so often we fool ourselves into thinking we’re at a party where all this water is available. Actually on the desert floor of my life, the only source of water is Jesus. And it’s me saying, I need you, I need you more than anything else. And so, I’m hoping that as you calibrate as this fall begins to gain momentum, that you will spend some time delighting in God’s beauty and His enoughness, sitting at the feet of Jesus and saying, your grace really is enough. And as a result, I really do hope you thrive.
Thank you Matt Heard. What a fantastic week of teaching from Matt. Do remember, you can stream those episodes and all of our Key Life content for free, 24 7, at keylife.org and join us again tomorrow, won’t you, for the nearly world famous Friday Q&A. On deck for tomorrow, is it okay for women to study theology? Tune in for that answer. So, if you’re listening to this program, then I’m going to wager that you believe in God’s radical grace. But where do you draw the line? How do you know if you’ve gone too far? Well, Steve addresses those questions in his book, Three Free Sins, but he also spoke to them in a talk on his Three Free Sins Book Tour. We would love to send you that full talk on CD for free by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. Or to mail your request, go to keylife.org/contact to find our mailing addresses. Just ask for your free copy of the Three Free Sins CD. And, finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? You can charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability. And as always, we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.