Second BIG DAY Talk

OUR Word for today is a story that’s told by St. Luke. It’s one of those stories that are preached again and again because it never runs out of wisdom.
Could you quickly rub both of your eyes right now? (Only if you washed your hands)
Great. Because today, I want you to read this story with fresh, clear eyes. Let’s read from Luke 10:38 – 42

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. 39 She had a sister called Mary
(There’s something about that Mary) who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a ] Mary has chosen
what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 NIV, emphasis mine)
Here’s my message to you today: Make Time.

Stress vs. Rest

Do you relate to Martha’s stress level? Quick activity: Can you type on the chatbox the name of a person that you look up to —with reverence? It may be a real
person like the Pope or Bro. Bo Sanchez or it may also be a fictional person like Spiderman or Harry Potter. Type the name now.

Now, I want you to imagine this scenario: Tomorrow morning, you are awakened from your beauty sleep at 10 a.m. by a phone call — an unregistered number.

You pick up the call and say, “Hello?”

Someone on the other line says, “Good morning! This is (insert the name of your role model). I just want you to know that I’m coming to visit your home today. I’ll be there for lunch. See you!”

It only takes half a second before your feet touch the ground. You take a shower so fast it makes Usain Bolt–Jamaican sprinter, greatest sprinter of all time– like a turtle. As soon as you’re done, you hit the kitchen. You pop open the fridge and see what you can whip up last minute. There’s a leftover slice of pizza on the top shelf, a few pieces of stale bread, and an unknown piece of meat that your mom sent you two months ago. Then you realize, Grab doesn’t deliver in your area. You start panicking. You’re a wreck. You wish you never took that call.

This was why Martha was so stressed. The Messiah was coming to visit their home. In fairness to Martha, she just wanted to make a great first impression because she loved and respected Jesus. But in the pursuit of making a first impression, she ended up overworked and stressed.

This is a situation we are usually in. When we take in too much stuff on our plate, we become overwhelmed. And eventually, we break. We burn out.

You are not meant to do everything – at least not all at once. Do you know why you’re tired? Because you do things that are not really required. Sometimes the only thing you’re required to do is– just like Mary– to sit down, listen, and let Jesus do what is needed. That’s why I love Sundays — because rest is the only requirement.

Today, I want you to take on this posture: Jesus isn’t coming to be fed. He’s coming to feed you.

Relax. Let God speak to you.

Anxiety vs. Time Allocation

Allow me to lay the groundwork for this talk. For the first time in a very long while, the Coronavirus Disease (COVID) has given us time to stop from our very busy schedules in the outside world. For most, no more long queues at the bus stop and the Manila Railway Transit (MRT). No more late-night overtime shifts in the office– or so it seems? You get to go home to see your baby take his first step, eat his first solid food, say his first word. You can plop on the couch and take a quick nap after a long meeting. You can sleep until 8 a.m. It’s been a blessing.

There’s never enough of it. It seems like we’re always looking for more time. At least that’s what it seems like because it feels like we’re always running out of time. We’re always trying to cram in more hours because there’s just never enough. How many of you would like an extra day squeezed in between Sunday and Monday? Good luck. I’ve been praying for that since College. There’s simply not enough time during weekends. You blink on Friday and whoops…it’s Sunday night and tomorrow you have to go back to life.

But is this really the case? Is there really not enough time? Are 24 hours not enough? It’s strange that we feel like we don’t have enough time in a digital age where we are surrounded by a plethora of labor-saving devices.

For instance, to save time texting, we can set our Smartphones to send a scheduled message at a chosen hour of the day. To save time cleaning the floor, we can set our robotic vacuum to sweep the entire house while we’re in a Zoom meeting. To save time switching on things, we can tell Google to turn on our air conditioning unit or switch on the lights before we even enter the room. We’re now living at a time in history that the people of the ’80s only dreamt and prophesied about. But if all of these technological innovations are supposed to save us time, here’s the question: Why do we feel like there’s still not enough of it?

Consequently, this question can also answer another related question: Why is there so much tiredness in our life?

Here’s my answer: Because we DON’T use the time that we save to strengthen our soul.

Here’s a thought. If by some miracle, God gave you an extra day, how would you use the extra 24 hours? Chances are, you will just fill up those hours with things.

Because I believe it’s not an issue of adequacy. It’s an issue of allocation. It’s not an issue of NOT having enough time. It’s an issue of not allocating time for the right things.

Think about this: Our gadgets save us time. That’s a fact. But what do we do with the time that we save? We spend it on other meaningless activities. We don’t have enough soul activities.

Remember this: When you fill your day with mundane things, you will live a mundane life.

Apps vs. Attention

During the time of Jesus, there was always time for soul activities. Everyone worked, but everyone also
prayed. Believers were found in temples passionately praying and worshipping God. Sunday was a big deal. The Sabbath Day was deeply honored and respected. Rest was treated with utmost importance.

What has happened since? What changed? Technology. Everything changed when Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Now, the family doesn’t have to sleep at 7 p.m. every night. They could stay up long after sunset. And then Life changed again with the invention of the printing press by Steve Gutenberg. People could stay up longer and read books and magazines. And then another change. This time, time as we know it would change forever. What happened? The iPhone was invented. The Age of Smartphones was ushered in. This era brought us the most time-consuming, time-sucking inventions of all time: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Kumu. Each of these apps has but one singular goal: to take away as much attention as they can from you– and worst of all from your God. That’s the truth. Every app out there is fighting for your attention.

Sean Parker, the inventor of Napster, and consequently, the first president of Facebook, said this about the objective of social media. I quote:

“How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible? And that means that we needed to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post orwhatever, and that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you more likes and comments. It’s a social validation feedback loop.”1

Here’s where the problem lies: your attention is limited. To make it worse, mix in all the factors fighting for your attention: your family is fighting for your attention, your work is fighting for your attention, your ministry is fighting for your attention, that unread email is fighting for your attention, that cute cat video is fighting for your attention. And here’s the big clincher, God is also fighting for your attention. So, who should get your attention? Let me give you 2 answers.

Demands vs. Discernment

First, Discern the demand. Train yourself to consciously set your priorities– who or what gets your attention– from the least important to the most important. It can be anything depending on what you value the most at that given time.

Ask yourself, “Which demand requires my immediate attention now?”

But here’s the most important: Give regular, undivided attention to God. This should be non-negotiable. Don’t let Him fight for your attention. Give it to Him.

It wasn’t that Martha wasn’t supposed to serve Jesus. Serving Jesus is important. But it seems that Jesus wanted her to sit at His feet first before she serves Him. Martha just got her priorities mixed up.

I wonder… Maybe you are struggling in some areas of your life because your priorities are out of order? Think about that.

Second, after you discern the demand, Dismiss the distraction.

40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

There are good distractions and bad distractions.

A good distraction, for example, is when you’ve been sitting on your chair for hours and your child suddenly comes into your office and wants to play with you for a moment. That’s one of my personal favorite distractions.

A bad distraction is when a notification pops up on your phone during your quiet time with God and you make the mistake of checking it out — and suddenly that notification leads you to another notification and then another notification, and pretty soon, you’re just scrolling through your phone like a mindless zombie.

Distractions can be deadly. And they can kill you. Maybe not physically. But it can kill your marriage. It can kill your rest. It can kill your peace. And worst of all, it can kill your relationship with the Lord. It can kill your soul.

Urgent vs. Important

Take a look at Martha. She was distracted from Jesus. Why? Because she didn’t know the difference between what was urgent and what was important. There is a big difference between these two. Let me explain…

What was urgent for Martha was to play host. She thought it was urgent to fix her place up and entertain her guests. Sometimes, we’re so busy focusing on what we think is urgent that we miss what’s important. Yes, it was urgent for Martha to fix a plate of food for Jesus, but it was more important that she encounters the Bread of Life.

Sometimes, priorities need to be reviewed so you can discern which demands are important. You can’t meet every demand all at once. It’s like opening a Swiss army knife. Have you ever seen all the tools in this knife opened up all at once? It’s a mess. It has so many uses, but it’s useless. Address demands one at a time. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you discern which demands require your immediate attention and which one needs to be shelved first.

Martha couldn’t tell what was important until Jesus helped her see her heart. She thought she was doing the right thing by serving everyone. But Jesus pointed out to Martha that her values were not in order. She got her priorities out of order. She put her attention to the thing that was of lesser importance.

Fear vs. Faith

Once upon a time, I asked myself this question: “How open should I be to people?” Should my door be wide open all the time? God answered me. But I got the answer at the expense of my peace. As I swung open my life to people, boy, did they trickle in! Pretty soon, I had no time for myself. I burnt out.

I learned this valuable lesson: If we are always available to everyone, we might not be able to give anything to anyone. Since then, I’ve always tried to discern the demands and then to dismiss the bad distractions.

Jesus was unbelievably good at this. He loved everybody, but He didn’t give everyone access to His innermost life. It’s about having an appreciation of how valuable time is – because it’s limited. It teaches you to make time for the moments that matter.

Not a few are living with the illusion that when life slows down, that’s when they’ll enjoy their life. “When the kids move out, then I will start serving in church. When I retire, then I’ll start helping in ministry and connecting to God.”

But in this story, Jesus doesn’t work that way. He will come into your house right when you’re really busy. Because He’s a sadist? No! Because He wants to show you what you’re missing when you’re too preoccupied with the wrong things. You have a Fear Of Missing Out? You should have a Fear of Missing Christ. Fear that you won’t see Him because you have a busy mind, a busy calendar, and a busy heart.

Jesus wants to connect with you in the noisy places of your life, not just in the solitary moments. Put down the spatula.
Put down the onions. Put down the knife. Someone else can cook. For now, sit at the feet of Jesus.

You might be succeeding in your responsibilities, but you might be failing where it really matters. Some are so good at doing things that don’t really matter. Ask the Lord to help you see what matters the

I’m preaching this with extra emphasis to the ladies. Why? Because you are the multi-tasking-masters of the universe. Ladies, did you know that there’s a study that when you multitask, the amount of efficiency that you lose is so great? Maybe that’s why Jesus reprimanded Martha– so she could leave what she was doing to do another.

I repeat: It wasn’t that Martha wasn’t supposed to serve Jesus. I think it was because Jesus wanted her to sit at His feet before she serves Him. She just got it out of order.

Maybe that’s why your relationships are struggling because you got your priorities out of order?

Discern the demand: What important task do you need to make MORE time for this month? Do you need to make time for your work, your family, your health, your faith? Discern it.

And after you do that, Dismiss the Distractions: What can possibly distract you from that important task? Put it on the shelf first so you can put your attention to what’s really important.

‘But I’m Here’

To close, let me share with you this personal story…

My son, Ethan, started developing this habit where if I or my wife would step out for even a quick moment, whether to go to the laundry cage upstairs or to pick up a package in the elevator, he would, “But now I don’t have no more Dada. Now I don’t have no more Mama.”

I’m telling you, it’s the cutest thing. Lately, I started saying it as well. I say out loud: “Now I don’t have no more baby son (that’s what I call him).”

Wherever corner he is at home, he’ll come dashing to me, and then I’ll pretend that he’s invisible while repeating, “Now I don’t have no more baby son,” until he pulls my face directly to his, and then he’ll say, “But I’m here, Dada. I’m here.”

As I look around and read the news and see my feed, I see that people are dying. People whose names are close to us are passing away.

And I realized this: We’re on borrowed time. Every single second we have is on loan from God. And once the time is up, that’s it. The Lord gives and the Lord taketh away. But blessed is the name of the Lord.

Instead of complaining about the lack of time, let’s make the most out of the time that’s been given to us– before it runs out. Let’s not wake up to life at 60 or 70 or 80 years old and ask: Where did all the time go? How did I spend all my time?

Instead, let my son’s words give voice to every person that you love: “But I’m here.”

While they’re there, make time for what matters most. Make time for family. Make time for good company. Make time for conversations. Make time for forgiveness. But most important, make time for Jesus. Sit at His feet. Listen to His words. Bask in His love.

Jesus says to Martha, “You are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42 NIV, emphasis mine)

The best choice is always Jesus. Make divine intimacy your first priority. And when you are with Jesus, stop rushing. Slow down. There’s no need to hurry. Jesus might have been on a mission, but He was never in a hurry. He made the most out of every drop of time that He had on Earth. To walk with Jesus is to walk without hurrying. Make time for Jesus.


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