With Room- "Filled to the Brim"
How to live with room for spirituality
Pastor Terry Inman
Most of the time I brew my own coffee. I grind my own fresh beans; I like it dark and hot. I always leave room for some half and half. When I stop at Starbucks it’s a tall double cappuccino or a dark drip with room.
Invariably they overfill the cup. I look around to see if anyone is watching and pour a little more coffee in the trash to make more room for milk. I love coffee but it’s always better with half and half. No sugar just cream.
Our lives are like that we are “Filled to the Brim”. We need to learn how to do life with room. The next four weeks we are going to talk about making room for spirituality, humanity, generosity, and for integrity. Today--How do we make room for simple spirituality?
Many of us live at some level of unbiblical busyness. Most of us have no margin left to do anymore than what we are already doing. For the next few weeks, let’s talk about living life with room!
“with room” is what artists call white space. These margins are the amount available beyond what is necessary. It’s the difference between what you have and what you use. I was born pre-mature. Being early almost got me killed. So most of my life I tried to arrive on time, not early or late. If it were a flight, I would try to get there in just enough time to make the scheduled departure.
However that created way too much stress. I was usually pushing it to get through traffic and to the gate on time. Age has tempered that. Now I try to get there plenty early. If my departure time is 9:00 am that means boarding is about 8:30. Now I try to get there at least an hour before boarding. It normally takes 30 minutes to get to the airport. Typically I would leave at 7:00 am but now I give myself more room. I would leave at 6:30 a.m.
That gives me plenty of time to check in, get through security and wait in line at Starbucks and get my hot coffee with room before my flight loads. More Room could mean having extra time to connect with God in the morning or evening. Room could mean time to stop for a friend or even a stranger in need of your attention. Room could mean a real day off.
Room could mean having money leftover at the end of the month. Room could mean having a night at home with nothing to do. Room could be distance between you and temptation. Room could be the emotional capacity to deal with daily problems that happen. Room could be just time to think, meditate, relax, and reflect.
The Scriptures are very clear that margins are part of the rhythm of God’s Kingdom. (Luke 10:38-42 NIV)
"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.”
Mary and Martha both had the same opportunity. Jesus was in the house. Martha was busy arraigning the room. Mary was making room for Jesus.
Mary focused on Christ, but Martha was distracted by the housework. Martha was convinced that what she was doing was absolutely necessary and right (verse 40). She just wanted to make Jesus feel comfortable.
Performance was part of her identity. That’s just what you did in her culture. The men would sit and talk but the women were in the kitchen. Mary was sitting at Jesus feet as a follower and learner. That was radical.Most of us are convinced that what we are doing is right and that the pace we are living is right. Martha was doing good she was sure it was the right thing to do. But Jesus thought Mary’s choice was even better.
“Better” is a word that is used to compare two things. It tells us that it’s not an issue of right and wrong. It’s an issue of good and better.
Jesus affirmed Mary’s choice…“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 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) It’s good for things to be clean and in good order. That’s not wrong or sinful behavior. So what was wrong about Martha’s choice? The good things she chose got in the way of choosing what was better.
Saying yes to the best things means saying no to the good things.
We want the best for our kids right? We want them to do well in school. We want them to be well rounded. We want them to have good friends. We want them to experience all life has to offer. Does that mean they really have to be in three organized sports, get a black belt, and become a ballerina. Do they have to have every gadget and their own smart phone just because their friends have one?
Has organized sports replaced family worship on Sunday morning. Is that really best for our children? What about family time? Are we so busy with activity that there is no time to connect with our children? Do we have margins for reading to them, praying with them and playing with them? We all need time for rest and relaxation but if we fill our weekends to the brim with travel, entertainment and recreation we head back into our workweek exhausted and stressed. So are we really having fun yet?
Speaking of work. Do we really need a standard of living that demands way too much of our time and energy. Is there room for God, for our marriage and our family?
A CEO has a demanding schedule. He says you can count on the unexpected to take you beyond your physical and emotional recourses. He calendars at least an hour of “unexpected” into every day’s schedule. When there are no unexpected events he gets free time! He is no longer burning the midnight oil at home and has time for himself and his family. So why don’t we choose to make room? Maybe because we believe that “normal” is a life filled to the brim! It’s the pattern of the world we live in.
Everybody does it. My boss expects it. My spouse appreciates it. My kids require it. This is what life is. When we see life this way, making room seem like wasting time. We don’t have time or space for the best!
Paul tells us to avoid the world’s way of life. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12.2 NIV)
Look around. If we want what the world has, by all means live according to the world’s pattern. We’re seeing what it produces: tired, worn out, selfish, broken, angry and sad people.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1John 2.15 NIV)
The world lives with faith in self. It’s all about what I can create, or what I can produce. It is a world without God…a world without faith. If we are not producing we feel less value. Our production has become idolatry.
When we fill our lives to the brim, we are saying there is no God but me. We settle for the lower things of the world instead of the higher things of God. There is a better choice. Jesus calls us to make room for healthy spirituality. Let’s call it soul rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11.28-30 NIV)
I was recovering from a by-pass surgery when the Lord brought this to my attention. Jesus was “gentle and humble in heart”. What does that mean? It means that he was strong and secure. He wasn’t striving to keep up with culture or compare himself with someone else. He was at ease with himself. Life was on His Father’s agenda not the world’s demands.
Jesus says to us. Come to me. Make room for me you who are weary (fatigued) you who are burdened (overloaded). Let me help you make choices. I’ll give rest, repose and refreshing. You will recover your life.
Take my yoke; serve along side me. Let me bear the weight of what we do together. “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill fitting on you.” (MSG) Learn from me, follow me walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (MSG)
Do we have room? Or are we burdened. The word Jesus used for “burden” is a word for a freight invoice. It’s a heavy load. Jesus says, “Unload some of the dark coffee and let me pour in some cream”. Lighten it up with me!
Life will go down a lot better! Make room for Jesus before you go to work. Make room for Jesus before you make those tough parenting choices. Make room for Jesus before you take on that second job. The Sabbath is a day of rest for mind body and spirit.
Martha was a good person with great intentions but she lived without room. The bible says she was “distracted by all the preparations” that had to be made. There is always something that we think has to be done. Her value was on her task. Her stress increased and her relationships suffered.
She was missing out on fellowship with her guest. She was even mad at Martha for enjoying Jesus presence. She complained, “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 NIV)
I’m not suggesting that we sit around chatting, or contemplating; we do need to accomplish something. But we need to make room for Jesus and His will in everything we do.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3.5 NIV
Don’t let the world fill you to the brim with its values, its pleasures, and its pursuits. Make room for simple spirituality. Stay connected to Jesus! Let his love lighten up your life.