40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 18 – Worship


As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  (Luke 10:38-42)


Yesterday we considered what true worship is, based on the words of Jesus.  We will continue to consider the Discipline of Worship through the lens of love.   Today we will consider our attitude towards worship based on an interaction between Jesus, Mary and Martha (passage above).  The imagery presented is simple but powerful.   Please prayerfully read the passage and answer the questions below.

Today’s Questions for comments:

  • What lessons about worship can we learn from Mary and Martha?
  • What is the major impediment to worship that you face?

Make this entire week a special week of worship (recognizing God’s worth).

12 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 18 – Worship

  1. Being a Martha, it is easy to identify with her and to realise the lessons and impediments to worship that I face. It was not what Martha was doing that was the problem but it was the fact that she was maybe worried and distracted by what people would think of her, irritated and annoyed that her sister would not help, desiring affirmation for all the hard work she was doing etc. In effect, her serving was all about her instead of being a humble and sincere act of worship to Jesus. To quote my devotiona this am, “The natural heart will do any amount of serving, but it takes the heart broken by the conviction of sin, baptized by the Holy Ghost, and crumpled into the purpose of God before the life becomes the sacrement of its message. ” As I more and more plumb the depths of my sin and brokenness, the more and more I can grasp the depths of God’s love for me in Christ and thus become a living sacrament every minute of everyday in every thing I do.

  2. What lessons about worship can we learn from Mary and Martha?
    What is the major impediment to worship that you face?

    Oh, how subtle is the deception of “me”. I can easily see myself in Martha’s shoes, convinced that I am loving and serving my Lord, when really it would be about me, trying to impress my same Lord – really, ALL about me. Not to focus on the actions but on the heart, I do think that there is room for Martha (or me) to be serving in a spirit of sacrifice, in order to give Mary the opportunity for intimacy that she could then enjoy, but in this case Martha’s comments show that not to be the case. True worship is a heart attitude of being in awe with our Lord – that is what Mary demonstrates here – there was nothing else that could compare, either in the room (preparations) or in her mind (‘me’ motivations). So the question is, what are my motives in worship? Is there any ‘me’ in it? This 40 Days study series is worship, if my motives are to focus on Him and draw near to Him, like Mary, but is there any ‘me’ in it? Am I trying to feel good about myself for doing it? Am I trying to impress myself? Am I trying to impress my Lord? Am I trying to impress you all with my comments? Father, PLEASE help me to make it ALL about YOU….

  3. Mary exercised greater discernment about, what is important. We sometimes limit worship to a place,and time with certain people. The reality is that we always have the opportunity to worship God, we don’t see Him in every moment of our lives.

    The stumbling block for me when it comes to worship is priority. I get so busy with other things that i am exhausted at the end of the day. I have a dominant A – Type Personality, when i accept a task, my brain takes over until it is solved. It consumes me. I need to just let go sometimes.

  4. The lesson I learned is that without ill intentions we sometimes become distracted by our preparation for worship, instead of right then, right there, falling on our face in the presence of our Lord, and worshipping him.
    I am guilty of this. I always seem to have so much to do that I sometimes start thinking about what I could get accomplished before worship, and how much I still have to do after. I know I should throw every distraction off, get tunnel vision, and wholly enter into worship.

  5. One lesson for sure is that worship is simply doing what Mary did – listening at the feet of Jesus. Devoting that time/moment to Him and Him alone.
    The impediment I face has to do with sharing that time/moment with things I allow to distract me.

  6. A true heart of worship does whatever it does out of love. Not from a mistaken place of self aggrandisement or other self interested motives. And therefore my biggest impediment to worship is my preoccupation with self.

  7. As was said before, I found myself in Martha’s shoes…everything must be perfect before worshiping. And I would be just as upset as she was whenever others are “supposed” to be helping and are not. However, the very act of preparation is a form of worship – once you take the “Me” out of the equation.

  8. I think this passage shows that not everything needs to be perfect before we make time for the Lord. It’s easy to get caught up in worshipping a certain way, a “respectable” or socially polite way, rather than rejecting our insecurities and people’s judgments, and focusing on God. That is my major impediments to worship. I become so concerned with what other people might think and drawing attention to myself that I forget one of the purpose’s of worship – to be open and vulnerable in my love for God.

  9. What lessons about worship can we learn from Mary and Martha?
    Sometime you just need to sit at His feet and listen. I get so preoccupied with preparing to worship that I miss the opportunity to worship.
    What is the major impediment to worship that you face?
    I have preconceived ideas of what conditions are ideal for worship. Songs I like; church starting and ending at a time good for my schedule; on Sunday, full orchestra; temperature at a nice level and the list goes on. Over the past 4 months God has been convicting and challenging me on this very issue. Evidence of my spiritual maturity is being still in His presence and worshiping. Sitting at His feet and listening! Ps 46:10 Be still and know that He is God.

  10. Being busy is done with the best intentions, as those of Martha were. What would the Church be, or our lives without doing many important activities.
    However, If our activities leave us with little time to enjoy being in God’s presence, to hear His Word, to strengthen us, we are likely to be anxious and troubled, with our lives and ‘service’ not having the joy and satisfaction that we want them to have.

  11. Thanks commentators! We all seem to have some (in some cases a lot) of Martha in us. May we truly be more like Mary and chose worship.

  12. What lessons about worship can we learn from Mary and Martha?
    What is the major impediment to worship that you face?
    I know I tend to often believe that my love for God and others is best evidenced by “doing” as much as I can for Him/them. This results in me becoming sometimes more focused on the doing of the activities and less on the reason or purpose for doing what I am doing. I am learning to slow down or better still stop, rejoice in the moment; take pleasure just being in his presence and not feel guilty that, during these times, I am not “doing” anything.
    “In His presence there is fullness of joy; at His right hand, there are pleasures for evermore…”

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