November 30, 2020
By Lawna Kennedy
“Distraction” is defined as a thing that prevents someone from giving their full attention to something else. We live in a world that screams at the top of its lungs for our attention. It tells us to focus on looks, relationships, status, and success. The news, social media, even our jobs, have a way of reeling us in. But many times, I fail to remember that when I draw closer to something, I simultaneously move further away from something else. There is a story in Luke 10 that can encourage us to limit the modern-day distractions that we have and draw closer to Jesus instead.
“As Jesus and the disciples continued on their journey, they came to a village where a woman welcomed Jesus into her home. Her name was Martha and she had a sister named Mary. Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation he shared. But Martha became exasperated by finishing the numerous household chores in preparation for her guests, so she interrupted Jesus and said, ‘Lord, don’t you think it’s unfair that my sister left me to do all the work by myself? You should tell her to get up and help me.’ The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.’”Luke 10:38-41 TPT
Martha clearly took pride in being hospitable, making sure her guests were well fed and taken care of, which would have been her role in society at that time. Today, it still is common to see women take pride in being hospitable and taking great care of their guests. The world of Martha’s day said, “this is what you should spend your time doing.” It would not have encouraged her to sit at the feet of Jesus.
When Martha became tired and frustrated, she complained to Jesus and asked him to make Mary help her. The first thing Jesus did was reveal the state of Martha’s heart. She was upset, troubled, and very distracted about many things. Can you relate? I know I get caught up with things in this world and find myself feeling the same way—upset, troubled, and distracted by my job, relationships, finances, social media, and more. Those things are beautiful and beneficial in their own way, as was Martha serving her guests. But when they become a distraction and pull our hearts further away from Jesus, we begin to burn out and become troubled like Martha. And practically, we can’t sit and spend time with God 24 hours a day. But we can continue to rely on the Holy Spirit, keeping our minds fixed on the word of God throughout the day and doing everything as unto the Lord and the Lord alone.
What are the things you are spending time on right now? Have they left you feeling refreshed or troubled and distracted? Are you getting fed and filled by God or filled with temporary things that weren’t created to truly satisfy and fill you?
Jesus ends this conversation with Martha by telling her that Mary has discovered the most important thing. She chose to sit at the feet of Jesus instead of constantly running to do the things the world told her she should do. Mary was undistracted and what she gained by sitting at the feet of Jesus would never be taken away from her. For Martha, the things she did would eventually be taken away from her. One day, there would be no more dishes to wash, food to make, or plates to set. And for us today, the job will end, the fame will cease, the money can’t go with you to heaven, and the relationship will not last forever. The only thing that will last forever is Jesus.
The beautiful thing is that it is a relationship that we can enjoy forever. When we breathe our last breath on this side, we will finally be with our truest love forever. I don’t know about you, but I want to choose the most important thing. The thing that will never be taken away from me. He is so worth our full attention, our devotion, and our very lives. I pray he becomes my one true focus amid this world’s empty distractions. I pray that we are captivated by Jesus more and more every day.
Thank you for showing us through the story of Martha and Mary that you don’t care how busy we are and you don’t love us more because of all the things we check off our list each day. You care about us just as we are. Please help us to remember that everything in this life is temporary but you will last forever. Help us to do everything with the aim to please you and draw closer to you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.