1. When someone asks how you’re doing and you reply with “busy!,” how does that make you feel? Important? Overwhelmed? Exhausted? Proud?
2. Who is currently calling the shots in your life? Are you determining your priorities or is someone else doing it for you? If it is someone else, what can you do to shift this responsibility back to you?
3. Have you recently made a list of the important things in your life? Roughly what percentage of your time is given to those things?
4. What is one thing you can cut out or set aside to make room for something important like studying scripture or exercising or connecting with a family member? Who will keep you accountable to this change?
Good morning everyone! I’m so glad that you’re here for our final week of White Noise. Maybe you’ve started coming to Hope City during this past series… a friend or family member invited you. Well, let me take a quick second to invite you to something. Every month we host a party for anyone who may be new to Hope City or is looking to learn more and check it out. I want to invite you to Pizza with the Pastor next Sunday right after church. We want to have lunch with you! You’ll have an opportunity to meet some of the staff team here at Hope City as well as hear more about our church and I get to hang out with you…. I love it!
Here’s the deal though… I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t you just talk about Pizza last week, and discipline? Right? Yes, we did. Do you know what’s funny? (Noah’s Birthday BLAZE PIZZA STORY) Last week we said that a lack of discipline today results in loads of regret tomorrow! Loads of pizza will result in loads of regret tomorrow. And do you know how I know this? Because of this right here. (BRING OUT THE SCALE).
This scale is pretty good at telling me just how disciplined I am with my pizza consumption. Essentially it’s a visual representation of my choices. What if we could put every choice we made on the scale…. Not to figure out how much they weigh, but to discern the value of those choices? Like, is that choice helpful, or harmful… It would be fascinating, right?
Let me say this one more time… We make our choices, and then our choices make us. One of the most profound choices that we have to make is what do we do with our time. How often do you find yourself saying, Man I wish I had more time to spend with the kids. Or I wish I had more time to Pray and read the Bible. I wish I had more time to workout, or to go fishing, or to hang with friends. I wish I had more time to serve on the dream team here at church. I just wish I had more time.
But what gets in the way?
We’ve got dishes to do, homework to help with, diapers to change, bills to pay, trash to take to the curb. We’ve got to mow the yard every 5 and a half days, it’s the RAINY SEASON IN FLORIDA! Oh, and we’ve still got to take that perfect picture that makes all of those chores look amazing on INSTAGRAM.
We struggle with time! Did you see that in the latest IOS update, Apple included an app called Screen Time? We are a nation that struggles with what to do with our time. And it’s no doubt that we find ourselves in a position where we are so frazzled, so stressed, so burned out on the pace of life that we are surrounded by white noise. That noise is created from the sustained blur of our lives going by.
We step on the scale now and do you know what it reads? BUSY… AND WE LIKE IT! “How are you doing?”, “I’m busy”. We want the scale to read I’m busy. So busy. We live in a society that celebrates busyness. It’s almost like a badge of honor that we wear. “Yes, I’ve been busy working so hard so that I can be busy all the time. That’s just the kind of hardworking, industrious, busy person I am.” This is dangerous because BUSY IS NEVER BETTER.
I’ve got to be brutally honest with you all about myself. I have an allergic reaction almost every day around 5:15. Inevitably, one of my kids will ask me, Hey dad… How was your day? What did you do today? And I’m forced to recount the events of that day. What did I accomplish, what did I do? They ask if I had any meetings that day, or who did I see… They are so genuinely interested in my day. And yet at the end of some days honestly I struggle to figure out what exactly did I accomplish today? What did I do that made a difference in our church, in our community, or in someone’s life? It seems like some days I’m just BUSY. It’s not that my day wasn’t filled with activity, the question that I struggle with is, “But did it have any meaning, did it add value?” I can get really down on myself, to the point that I try and avoid that question all together. Why? Because it causes me to take stock of my day and evaluate it.
Have you ever felt that way? Everything feels URGENT. Ever felt like there is too much to do? You are often rushed from one place to another, or one task to another? Maybe you would even say, YOU know what, there just aren’t enough hours in the day!
Here is a harsh truth. Are you ready for it? NEVER SAY YOU DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME. I know. I told you it was going to be harsh.
You have time for what you choose to have time for. I don’t have time to read that book or go back to school for further education. And yet, we have time to binge watch the latest Netflix series. I don’t have time to exercise or go to the gym to workout. But you have time to consume an entire bag of Dorito’s while watching a team of athletes exercise on a field. You have time for what you choose to have time for. The question is, WILL WE CHOOSE WHAT IS IMPORTANT OVER WHAT IS URGENT. In your notes we have a space for you to write down a few things in your life. What’s above the line is important…. What’s below is Urgent. Go ahead and write them down… draw a picture… whatever.
If you own a business, calming an angry customer is urgent. But building a system that keeps customers from getting angry is important.
Getting your car engine repaired is urgent. Changing the oil so it doesn’t need to be repaired is important.
Getting help when you are sick is urgent. Taking care of yourself so you don’t get sick is important.
If we choose the important, we won’t have as many things that are urgent.
The decisions we make end up making us! And these decisions can deeply impact every aspect of your life.
Jesus has a fascinating interaction with two people who were in the same situation and yet made two totally different decisions. Open your Bibles and turn to Luke chapter 10:38-42, that’s found on page 709 in the Bibles around you. Today we are going to learn from a story of two sisters named Mary and Martha. These two sisters are just the way sisters are… totally different from one another… I saw this video this week and it reminded me of exactly what was going on in this scene. Look at this.
They couldn’t have been more polar opposite. One is all into it, and the other is thinking to themselves, WHO IS THIS OLD GUY MCDONALD, and WHY SHOULD I CARE ABOUT HIS FARM?
Look at what’s going on here in this passage.
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, 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. Luke 10:38-40
So, these sisters, Mary and Martha find out that Jesus is in town, and they decide to have the distinguished Rabbi over. This isn’t like having your mom stop by… this wasn’t a regular guest. This was the kind of guest where you are running around the house, shoving stuff in the closet. You crazily start raking all the kids toys into the bin they came from, 1,000’s of legos are getting mixed in with, battleship game pieces, and monopoly money is fluttering around… You’re slinging playdough and slime into a bucket to get it out of view….
Or then you run around and throw all the piles into a laundry basket and toss it behind your bedroom door hoping no one sees it. Out of sight, out of mind. We’ve all been here in this position. We’ve had someone over that we felt the need to HOST.
That was Martha’s perspective. She felt the urge to tidy up and get it all presentable. After all she was having the SON OF GOD in her house. It’s not everyday that the Son of God in the flesh visits your own home. “Sorry Jesus, I’d love to spend time with you, but I’ve got so many URGENT THINGS TO DO.”
Mary on the other hand did the exact opposite. She saw an opportunity. Jesus was in her home, and she was going to soak up every moment of it. She was doing exactly what a good disciple was supposed to do. To follow in the dust of the Rabbi… to walk where they walk, to sit at their feet and listen and learn from them, she was practicing the habit of being present.
We learn a critical idea from this interaction between Jesus and Mary and Martha. Each of these women made a choice. They each had opportunity, and yet they chose to live in that moment from two very different viewpoints. Martha fell into a default decision. She knew that society in her day and age said that as a woman she should be serving and preparing a meal for the men in the house. IN fact, as a woman it was frowned upon, and in some cases not allowed for a woman to sit with men around the feet of a teacher. And so Martha slipped into a default decision. This is what society has told me I should do…
Mary on the other hand knew that this opportunity was significant, and not one that she should waste. She made a decision that helped her experience what she was designed for. As a child of God, we have been designed to know and experience God. To sit at His feet in worship, to listen to His voice and respond appropriately.
If we are going to battle busyness in our life, there are three things we need to learn today. Because, we are faced with decisions like this all the time. Culture says one thing and yet, your heart is telling you to do something else… LIVE BY DESIGN NOT DEFAULT.
Mary knew the social structure she lived in. She knew the unwritten social standards of her society. She knew that it was considered shameful to sit at the feet of a teacher amongst men. But what she wanted outweighed what her society said.
Listen to me, OUR LIVES WORK BEST WHEN WE OPERATE ACCORDING TO THEIR GOD GIVEN DESIGN, NOT BY THE CUTLURE DRIVEN DEMANDS.
If we listen to the many voices of our culture, than we are led to believe that we can do everything. We start thinking that we can take on more and more. And what ends up happening is that we don’t get enough sleep, we eat poorly, and our nutrition suffers, and we stop resting. We stop learning, stop playing, stop reflecting, and stop praying. And then we think to ourselves, why am I so stressed out right now? We condition our mind, our body, and our soul to run on empty and we live exhausted well beyond the limits that God designed you to live by.
Could this be why we are so addicted to our phones? The mind-numbing effect of the glow anesthetizes us from the exhaustion and apathy that can easily set in when we live by default rather than the way we were designed.
We can’t live like this. We weren’t designed to. But it’s not that easy… Is it? Look what happens with Mary and Martha.
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!” Luke 10:40
Ugh, hello… Jesus, don’t you see all that I’m doing? Jesus don’t you see that I’m the one who got the cheese and crackers out. I fluffed all the pillows. I made sure that the bathroom was wiped down before you got here. I’m the one who has the soup on the stove, and the bread in the oven. I’m running the vacuum. And what is my lazy sister doing? NOTHING! TELL HER TO HELP ME.
Martha was distracted by all the preparations. She was chasing after the urgent needs of the moment. All she can see is what needs to be DONE… So much so that she doesn’t even understand who she is WITH. And if she was going to be working and serving, than MARY BETTER BE TOO!
If you aren’t careful to set boundaries, and have conviction on the choices you have made for yourself, others will make them for you. In fact, if you’re taking notes today, I want you to write this down. You need to PRIORITIZE YOUR LIFE OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL.
Martha got up in Mary’s business because she thought she knew what was best.
If you’re not careful, this can be an incredible slippery slope. We live in a world that is conditioned by social norms. We are told what we should wear, what is cool, what is popular, what is outdated, and what you would never be caught dead in. Gone are the days of simplicity, and utility. Things don’t serve a purpose, we purchase things to elevate status and comfort. And if we don’t prioritize our life, someone else will. We run around chasing whatever it is that culture and society tells us to. Listen, THE DEVIL DOESN’T HAVE TO MAKE YOU BAD WHEN HE CAN MAKE YOU BUSY.
Jesus knew this and, in the moments, before He was betrayed in the garden by one of His disciples, arrested, and ultimately hung on a cross to die, Jesus thought of you. Jesus spent time praying for you and for me. Look at just a portion of what He prayed for you. He said this in John 17
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:14-18
Listen, it isn’t about getting in a little HOLY HUDDLE and settling down on a compound, all wearing jean skirts, and straw hats. Our goal as Christians isn’t to become less like the world, our goal is to become more like Christ and to show Christ to the world around us. Jesus’ true followers have not only been crucified to the world, but also raised to new life and sent back in to free others. Our goal isn’t to be so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. NO! We’ve been rescued from the darkness and given the Light not so we can run from the darkness, but to be a light to our steps as we go back in to rescue others and show them Jesus.
But if we’re not living on mission, everyone else will be glad to tell you what your mission should be…. Prioritize your life, or someone else will. Mary knew that being with Jesus was more important than anything she could do for Jesus.
Look what Jesus says to Martha…. Verse 41
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:41-42
Martha was distracted… she was caught up in the moment. She was swayed by the hype. JESUS IS COMING. I’ve got so much that I need to do! And it set about a chain reaction of events that swayed the outcome of her day. Look at what Jesus addressed in Martha. Martha… You’re WORRIED. You are worried about what could happen or may happen. WORRY is believing that something that could happen will happen. Martha, you’re all worried and worked up. She’s urgently rushing around the house, being the gracious host.
Jesus identifies a heart issue in Martha and says, let’s talk about that. You’re worried and upset. Your feelings have caused you to make a choice that’s good, but not great. It’s not that she is doing the wrong thing, it’s a good thing to want to serve the Son of God. But Mary has made an even better decision, to sit at Jesus feet and be in His presence.
Martha shows us that if we’re not careful, FEELINGS CAN DEVALUE DECISIONS. When you make feelings based decisions, you end up running from one fire to another. The thing that is burning the hottest and brightest gets your attention, while the thing that may be most important remains undone. These urgent moments tend to happen to you, they’re accidental, while the important moments are generally intentional and strategic.
Be careful to allow your feelings to drive your decisions. In the case of Mary and Martha there was an issue with being and doing. Martha was so distracted by the doing that she missed out on just being with Jesus.
Let me ask you a question, What’s the most important thing you’ve been distracted from pursuing? Maybe it’s time with God. You’ve just been so busy that you haven’t spent any time with God, it’s been weeks since you’ve prayed or picked up your Bible. Or maybe it’s time with your kids. You’ve been running so hard at work that you get home too late and when you do get home, you’re just exhausted and really aren’t able to connect with them. Maybe it’s your marriage, or your health… I don’t know. But it is critical for you and for me to choose what’s important over what’s urgent.
It is possible to live in our fast paced, busy society and still develop a meaningful life. DON’T JUST DO MORE. DO MORE OF WHAT MATTERS MOST.
Here are 4 things to help you practically eliminate the white noise of busyness.
- REGULARLY TAKE INVENTORY
Ever notice how stores take inventory of the stock they have… They know what’s on the shelves, and where it is at all times. Do this in your life, take inventory in your life, take a look at a few key areas, and take stock of what’s going on in those areas. When we understand how limited our time is we tend to make the most of it. Some areas you may want to look at are, Faith, Marriage, Family, Work, Finances, Attitude, Friends, Physical, Ministry. If you see that something is running low, figure out how you can pour into that area and correct it!
- MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS
If we are truly going to have balance in our life, if we’re going to choose the important thing over the urgent thing, we will need to make tough decisions. Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us spend them as we should.” We need to make tough decisions. This means that if it isn’t a clear yes, it’s a clear no. We need to be willing to evaluate, eliminate, and execute. Do first what matters most. Remember, you have time for what you choose to have time for.
- FOCUS ON THINGS THAT WILL LAST
There are few things that we do that get our time and attention that will last. Ask yourself, will this matter 10 years from now. Will my Grandkids talk about this one day. Of all the things that we do, two things come to mind that will last, God and People. This is why Jesus was so intent on helping us see that Loving God and Loving others was the most important thing we could do! Too much of our life can be categorized as simply staying busy for busyness sake. But actively pursuing things that will matter years from now adds meaning and value to your life.
- SAY YES LESS
I would imagine that many of you in this room do not struggle with a lack of commitment, but rather with over commitment. We start jamming up our schedules that we don’t have time to do what matters most. Remember that busyness doesn’t equal better. There are times when you have to say no to a good thing, so you can say yes to the best thing.
DON’T JUST DO MORE. DO MORE OF WHAT MATTERS MOST.
White noise is everywhere. It’s all around us. This is why we have to make decisions. We’re going to choose Purpose over Popularity. We’re going to choose Surrender over Control. We’re going to choose Discipline over Regret, and we’re going to choose the Important over the Urgent.
When we make those choices, it’s amazing how our world gets a little quieter. And we can hear the voice of God again. He’s not angry, He’s not saying, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, WHY HAVEN’T YOU BEEN LISTENING TO ME? But I imagine that God is just constantly reminding us to weigh our lives. To take time to listen… to hear his voice as He speaks to our hearts, and maybe you’ll hear him say one of these messages…
Slow Down. You’re going too fast.
Don’t Do It. You know it will cost way too much.
Hang in there. I know you’re tired. But you can make it.
Let it go. Forgive them. I know they were wrong. But it’s affecting you more than it’s affecting them.
Get Help. You can’t overcome this problem by yourself.
There is more. Keep pursuing God. Don’t settle for what you’ve experienced.
What do you wish that God would say to you? Will you listen for his voice? What is the scale saying about your life? Whatever it may be, bring it before God, and ask Him for His help and guidance today.