Beth Moore - Thriving in our Choices Part 3
Would you turn with me, please, to Luke, chapter 10? Oh, we're gonna have fun today. We are gonna have some fun today. See, I think Bible study is a blast. We have to get involved with it and get in there with it, not separate the Word of God from the mouth of God, does anybody hear what I'm saying to them this morning? And when we're having our study time at home, when we're reading our Scriptures, perhaps in the morning, that we're engaging with him, and we speak to him, we're dialoguing with him, that he's speaking to us through his Word and we are speaking back.
Luke, chapter 10, I want to read what, to any of you really familiar with the Gospels and familiar with some of these really, really well-known stories, you will already start smiling by the time I get through the first verse. It is verse 38 of Luke, chapter 10, that says, "Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary". Now, this drives me crazy. I got no answer for you. I got all sorts of questions I don't have any answers for whatsoever. But one of the things that drives me crazy, and you can check any of your major translations, that she is "named" Martha and the other woman is "called" Mary. Why? Why? Why wasn't she named Mary? One was named Martha and the other was called Mary.
Well, there's several meanings to the name Mary, but one of those words can mean bitter, it's like the waters of Marah in the Old Testament, and you just have to wonder, why? Why was she called Mary? "And she sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching". I need somebody to go with me here. He was Bible teaching. I want you to understand what is happening here because you are watching something revolutionary, and sometimes we can miss the forest for the trees. And I want you to understand with me that Mary was in there at Jesus's feet, listening to him teach. Women in theology class, right here in Luke chapter 10.
I want you to understand that we are here today, let me just, like, publicly, unabashedly, unashamedly, in the studies of the Scriptures, because Mary was invited into Bible class. There's no telling how all the men looked up at her and thought, "What are you doing here? Surely, she is serving coffee. I'll have one with cream and sugar". Only she's going, like, "You're gonna have to get Martha. I'm coming in to study". I love our brothers so much, I love our sisters so much, and I love the fact that the Word of God invites us all to the feet of Jesus. And it says, "But Martha," verse 40, "was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?'" I love this part: "'Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.'"
Doesn't mean a whole lot of things aren't important. One of the most important parts of the segment is that we understand that there is lots and lots to be done. But he says but one thing is absolutely necessary. "Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her". The NET says it this way: "Mary has chosen the best part". You and I have gathered here to talk about choices, about becoming choosy in a land of a million choices. We're compiling eight tools, eight tools so that we can be set up in a way to make choice kinds of decisions. And we're seeing it right here, just in the day-to-day.
I want you to notice a couple of different things with me because we're looking at the passage and thinking to ourselves, you know, we're always hoping a Martha's somewhere at our gathering. I mean, like, who's gonna do the dessert tray? I mean, one of the first things I'm thinking about when we're going to somebody's house for some kind of gathering, what are we gonna eat? That's what I'm wondering about. And so, did the house not have to be prepared with all the... she was distracted, the Word of God says, with all the preparations. Well, here's the deal. She just didn't keep the "pre" in the preparation, anybody got it with me? Because after he was still going, he's in there teaching, she's in there fiddling with the napkin rings. And you might say, and I get this, totally, I mean, well, like, well, somebody had to cook.
Well, really, all somebody had to do was, like, bring a snack. Maybe just a couple of loaves and fishes. Because, I mean, all you have to do is look at Jesus and go, could you feed us here? Starving, starving. So, I mean, it's not like there wasn't anything to do about it. He could do it, he could do it. But I want you to notice, because this is so us. I don't know if anybody else feels this way, but there are a couple of different words going here. Notice it says she was distracted, she was distracted. It's from the Greek lexical term perispao, perispao, and that "peri," P-E-R-I, means around, around. It can be, like, just starting out this way and it literally, and that "spao" mean to just shoot out different directions. So she's just running in circles, she's here, she's there, she's here, she's there. I mean, just like the pitter-patter of her little feet, constantly, constantly, and she's just distracted.
And it says, "You are anxious and troubled", anxious, it's an interesting word. It comes from a Greek lexical term, merimnao, merimnao, and it means anxious care. There are other Greek words that mean care and concern. We are called to care and concern ourselves with one another and with things that need to be done, care for our households, care for the work that we've been given to do, care for our loved ones. We're told all of that. This is a different word here. This is not just care, it's care with a side order of anxiety. It's anxious care, and it says anxious care and troubled. That word, I thought this was so interesting because that anxious care and the sense of the word in my Bible software, my Logos program, it says this, and I'm quoting, "to think moodily".
It's care in a bad mood, is anybody getting that with me? Like, it's not just care, it's that I care and I'm in a really bad mood about it. I mean, it's just like, you know, because the last time you were, "I'm trying to take of you"! You know what I'm talking about? Like... So, I mean, this is us. We get this, we get this. I truly believe, I truly believe it could be said that at the end of it all, especially in the day in which we live, it is highly likely with all the things we've got pulling at us, that more of us will not fulfill our callings to the ministries, and all of us have been assigned one, all of us. You don't have to think in vocational terms, just, God's given us all a calling, purpose to live out.
And it is very possible that more of us will miss that over distractions than depravity. We're distracted, doing a thousand things at once, and we're in a bad mood about it. It's not just that we're distracted, it's that it's giving us anxiety and it's making us moody. I wanna say that again. All our distractions are making us anxious and moody, troubled, troubled. You know the kind, just upset. That was a synonym for the Greek word, just upset, just upset. I can tell you who didn't have a good time that day. There is no conceivable world in which they could have thanked Martha enough. I need somebody to hear it. When we think, "Not one person thanked me! Not one"! You know what I'm talking about? Not one, but listen, I can tell you, I am not a great cook. But I cook a few things...
And so when I know I have killed it, this is why I don't get to really kill it in the kitchen, is because I cannot keep from being prideful about it. When I know, when I know I killed the Thanksgiving dinner, I might as well have wrung the turkey's neck myself and plucked the thing. And I mean, I just, my dressing was perfect, the whole thing. I set my fork down, I set it down kinda heavily, set my fork down, and I looked at my family, and I said, "Nobody needs to tell me it's good, I already know it". Anybody know what I'm talking about? I mean, just, full-on Martha, full-on. I mean, you cannot thank us enough when we're in a bad mood about it, cannot thank us enough. So Mary had chosen what was best, and it could not be taken from her.
All right, we've already made two points together. I wanna hear our motto, because it's gonna become very important to us. What's our eight-word motto? I need to hear it, okay? Therefore choose life, for He is your life. Isn't that the most beautiful thing? If you needlepoint, you need to needlepoint that. If you print, that needs to go up. That's the most beautiful thing. Therefore choose life, for he is your life. There's this gorgeous portion in Colossians that says, "When he who is your life shall appear in glory, you shall also appear with him". It's so powerful because in both Testaments, it's saying the same thing. When Jesus said to them, "I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life," life is in me, therefore choose life, because I am your life. So our first, let me hear your first one, number one: quash false voices about choices.
Number two: Recognize every choose-fuse. You and I are going to learn how, in the moment that a choose-fuse goes off, where we can give it a name, okay. Like, oho, I remember this one, there it goes. And we've got this window of opportunity that you can call what you want, I call it pre-idiocy, that I've got this moment that I can make a different decision. And I'mma tell you something, at first it's really, really hard because all this time we've been thinking, well, no, it's not just hard, it's impossible. Like there was just this surge of that detonator going off, and we just, one reason why I say in that intense sexual passion that we were talking about, you know, this is one reason why the New Testament tells us to flee, that there comes a time when you run from something. You don't just like... When, I mean, when you're, like, just detonating inside, you run for your life. That's what you do, you run for your life. So that's one and two, let's get to three.
Number three is this: let a few BIG Choices make a thousand smaller ones. I love this point. Behold, the art of simplification. I still love to make lots of choices, but I also love it when a few big choices already have automatically made a lot of smaller choices for me. That's just a relief. I don't have to go back through that, I just keep looking back at this one because, you know, well, I made that choice, so it keeps making these for me in the daily because I made this one over the life. Is that making any sense to anybody here? When a few big choices make innumerable small ones, I love that.
Now, I'm gonna throw out a few examples, but I need you to know ahead of time, I am a work in progress here. Sometimes I do this better than others. I just, I mostly, this is what I pursue, even in the ones I'm gonna use for a personal example. But I just want you to see them with me, ways we can make some really big overarching decisions that already, like... I don't have to think about that again. Today, I can just, I'm choosing what I already chose. So think through it a minute. For instance, I want you to jot down 1 Corinthians 6:12 because it is so important. It's so important in a culture, and this would have been true, I mean, this would've been true among the Romans, in the time of Christ, this has just been true since there has been any population of humanity on the earth, but so much so now in the world in which we live, that the word moderation has all but dropped out of our dictionary. We don't even know what it means. We wouldn't even know how to spell it because it's just, we just don't have it.
And I want you to see 1 Corinthians 6:12. I wanna read it to you out of the Revised Standard Version because I love the way it's worded. It says this: "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything". In other words, there are a lot of things that are just, like, I mean, we're just, like, we're free in the Spirit. We don't have the law over us with every tedious detail like they did under the old covenant. So we live by the law of love and by the law of the Spirit, and certainly there are commands. We have commands in the New Testament. But we are not under the yoke of the law, and so, he says, okay, this is Paul talking. So all things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. I don't wanna be mastered by anything, I will not be enslaved to anything.
So let me just throw out this example, because I come from a family where alcoholism is absolutely rampant. And I can tell you that it is not bondage for the family member I have right now that is living soberly and sanely after a very, very, very insane kind of journey. And some of you know what I'm talking about, and you've had that, it's in your family as well, so, you can just picture with me where all this can go, into every possible extreme you can imagine. But I can tell you that, to this particular loved one of mine, it is not bondage to say no to a drink, it is her freedom, because when she picks that up, she's back in. She says it's not the second sip I'm back in with, it's the first sip. She said it may be that it's not unlawful for me in the Scriptures, it's not sinful, what may not be sinful for someone else is bondage to me.
So you got to know, you got to know your own heart and mind before the Lord and know that, you know what? I might be free to do that. You might be free to do that, and you might do just fine. But I can tell you right now, I walk into that trap and I am back in to an addiction like that, that I'm back into that slavery. Because if you've chosen sobriety and sanity, then you've made your daily choice, and you just keep choosing it again, because this is what... I don't have to think it through, I have chosen this to be the rule over my life so that I can be free, so I choose it again daily. All right, marriage, obvious one. That means that your spouse, that the fact that you made this overriding, big choice, and I made this overriding big choice to marry, that that means I'm not having sex with others regardless, regardless of the opportunities and temptations. Anybody going with me there? That choice has already been made.
I wanna tell you something that I think you'll be able to relate to. I thought, how much of this can I really say with, and not get too personal? But I think that many of us that are married or have been married can understand this and go here on this. But I, you know, I had this idea, and I don't know why, I don't know where this came from. I think I just had this idea that, I mean, to my husband, there would never, ever be another woman on earth. He wouldn't even notice them. Because you just think, this is how I want it to be. It's the way I need it to be. I told you I dealt with insecurity, so you can imagine, just, like, there's always somebody cuter, always some, you know, it's always gonna be that way, always gonna be that way.
And my husband has been faithful to me, but we went through a time of, well, one of a number of times, of just struggle with this or that. And I felt threatened in a particular situation. And I think, you know, sometimes we wives ask more than we can handle the answers to. Can I just say that? Shall we not go eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? We don't really have to ask our loved one if a thought ever goes through their mind about anyone. Can I just say, don't go there? Don't go there, just don't even go there. I'm not saying I went there or not, I'm just saying that, you know, I just was having this struggle. And I'll never forget what he said to me. It didn't satisfy everything, but I've thought about it a million times. He said, "Elizabeth, I choose you every day". It's like, but do you want to?
You know, I never get enough, never, it's never enough. But, I mean, think about that. I mean, that's pretty good. I mean, what are we expecting out of somebody? What we're really getting is mostly good decisions. But, yeah, yeah, I think that works. But one of the things that I do is, I don't think whether or not I'm gonna work out in the morning. I don't. I can't. If I do that, I won't do it half the time. I probably won't ever do it. I made a decision years ago that if I was gonna really stay energetic and healthy, I was really gonna have to try to keep up some level of fitness. And so I made the decision years and years and years ago, I mean, in my early 20s, and when I roll out of bed, I already know I'm going to, I have my quiet time first and then I know I'm going to work out. I have to be absolutely sick not to do it. And I don't think, "Shall I do it today"? Because if I do that, you know what I'm gonna say to my "shall" self? I shall not.
So, you know, I already made that decision. I talked to a woman here recently, said, "Miss Beth, do you remember when I had that talk with you about whether or not I should stay with my job that every single day, I couldn't", it was a ministry job, "Every single day, I couldn't decide whether to stay with that job or not. Am I supposed to be here or not? Am I supposed to be here or not? Am I supposed to be here"? And she said, "Do you remember when you prayed over me and then you said, my name, and you said, 'Why don't you, until God moves you, just, like, do this job? Just do it. Put everything you've got into it.'" She said, "It changed my life". Because she said, "I just decided," she said, "Well, I'm not gonna worry about it. If he wants to move me, he can move me. And until then, I'm just gonna make a choice to do this job". Anybody got that with me?
Maybe that will speak to somebody. Okay, let me throw out, I think, just one more. If you're going to undertake a project, when you say or when I say yes to a big project, what we're saying when we say that big yes, we are saying no to tons of other things. And we have to stick with it because any project, you know, in the day we live, you've got a work project. If you're a writer and you think you're ever going to finish that book while you are doing ten thousand other things, you can forget it. It will not happen. It is gonna be the tyranny, the urgent, there will always be a million other things for you to do.
And, my word, there's Facebook. I mean, we haven't updated, and, you know, we'll get all ready to work on our project, and then you know what we'll do? We will take a picture of it for Instagram. Instead of actually doing the work, let's take a picture of our desk for Instagram! And then, let's see how many people liked it! It's insane, it's insane. You know what your quicksand is. We've all got some. You've got yours, I've got mine, that on my path, if I'm ever gonna get sunk down, you know what yours is, I know what mine is. And for me, it is Twitter. I do some of the other stuff, but I'm not as into it because I like words, and I like ideas, and I like discussions, and occasional debate. I was just, like, you know, I like, that's my thing, that's kinda, I'm just a word person. Other people, you know, it's gonna be pictures; other people, it's gonna be other things. But what is your quicksand?
And so, I wrote out a little rhyme because I was going back into writing and so I needed to make a commitment for my writing days, or it wasn't gonna happen. And I knew this is my biggest distraction. So I wrote out this little rhyme for my writing days, and it says this: "Twitter free nine to three. Nine to four prosper more. Nine to five expect to thrive". So I look at that clock, 'cause I'm, like, I'm always wanting to check it, always wanting to check. It ain't 3 p.m. And, I mean, there's 4, 4's really good, but, man, I want to thrive.