Edwin Bliss once said, “The pursuit of excellence is gratifying and healthy. The pursuit of perfection is frustrating, neurotic, and a terrible waste of time.” Interestingly Jesus taught the same principle 2ooo years ago when he visited Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. These sisters from A.D 30 are the basis for my sermon today. They have three important lessons for you and me living in the 21st century.
1. Martha was driven by Perfectionism
A. Jesus’ visit was very important because he was only a few weeks away from his death. But Martha was distracted by the many things she had to do.
B. Like Martha many of us miss such “Divine Moments” in life because we are distracted by perfectionism and the desire to receive people’s approval.
C. In the end like her we will fail and failure makes us doubt God’s love for us which takes a toll on our relationship with God.
2. Mary’s life was driven by Excellence
A. Someone said perfectionism is doing things right while excellence is doing the right thing.
B. Women in Biblical times were more into their household work. Learning at the feet of a Rabbi was considered not suitable for them.
C. Mary pushed back her household work to sit at the feet of Jesus because it was the right thing to do. She was driven by excellence.
3. Lessons Mary and Martha have for Us
A. A desire for perfectionism in less important things is a weakness of personality, not a strong one as some would like to call it.
B. Our careers and ministries require attention but not so much that we neglect to spend time with God.
C. In life the most excellent thing we can do is to push back unimportant things to make room for God’s presence because without God life is nothing.
Let me close this message with an illustration. Once Marissa Mayer (CEO, Yahoo Inc.) was asked about being a mother, housewife, and businesswoman how she managed it all. Marissa answered, “I prioritize ruthlessly and God is my top priority”. We achieve excellence in everything we do by organizing our priorities right and the right way to organize our priorities is to give first place in life to God because being God he thought of us first.
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