Here we have the story of two of Jesus disciples, Mary and Martha, and from it we gain some insight into approaches we can take in our relationship to Jesus Christ.
Mary sat at Jesus' feet (and opened her heart to him), listened to Jesus (to his Word), focused on “one thing” (the better thing) and she was rewarded for her time well spent with Jesus. Martha opened her home to Jesus (but not her heart), was distracted by all the preparations she was making, was stressed (worried and upset) about “many things” and, as a result, missed the better “one thing”. She was also critical of others.
Both Mary and Martha were disciples of Jesus, but they differed dramatically in their intimacy with Jesus and the resulting quality of their lives. True discipleship requires time for both serving and reflection , but we must carefully balance the two. There is a time to work and a time to listen . Most of us could use a little more Mary and a little less Martha in our lives.
Are we a Mary or a Martha church? What would Jesus say to CityLife if he wrote us a letter (Rev.1-3)? What would he encourage us for and would he have anything against us? Would he say, “You've forsaken (or left) your first love” and call us to repentance?How to get back to “First Love”
Sample Discussion Questions
- Discover the “ideal”.
We must look at the Bible and discover what should a true disciple's life looks like. What are the external evidences of a heart in “first love”?
- Define “reality”.
We must come out of self-deception. Is our life a reflection of what God wants it to be? Is our church community living the way God wants us to? We need to examine and evaluate ourselves. Often we live far short of the life God wants for us and we have not responded in obedience to his call to a life of greater faith, passion and intimacy with his heart.
- Discern your “distractions”.
What is keeping us away from an intimate relationship with God and the life he wants for us? Is it things, people, busyness or a mindset (unbelief, doubt or fear)? We often forsake God (the source of living water) and run after other things that never satisfy (Jer.2:13). Jesus is “the bread of life”. He alone satisfies the cry and the longing in our hearts.
- Determine your “desperation factor”.
People often change when they hurt enough that they want to. How hungry are we for a different and better life or are we satisfied with mediocrity?
- Decide to change.
If we keep doing the same things, we'll most likely keep getting the same results. If we expect something different, then we have to do something different. We have to stop doing some things and start doing some new things or we have to do less of some things and more of other things. Something has to change and it begins with our heart (our inner world) and then it effects how we live (our outer world).
- Are you more like Mary or Martha? Explain and illustrate your answer.
- Is our church more like Mary or Martha? Explain and illustrate your answer.
- What do you think Jesus would say to our church right now (positive and negative)? What can you do about this?
- What do you think a true disciple's life looks like? Share some characteristics.
- Compare this with your own life and share some areas that you need to change in.
- What are your biggest “distractions”?
- Discuss the concept of a “desperation factor”. What is it and how do we cultivate it?
- What could you do to be more like a Mary, to get back to “first love”, to live a life of greater intimacy with the Father God and to live a life totally surrendered and “in tune” with God's heart? What will you do about this?