Luke 10:38-42 (NKJV) tells of Jesus's visit with Martha and Mary:
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
- Verse 40 says that Martha was distracted with much serving.
- In verse 41, Jesus told Martha she was worried and troubled about many things.
- In verse 42, Jesus explained that only one thing was important and Mary had chosen it.
Distractions come to us all. Their purpose is to draw us from the thing that is most important: time with Jesus and His Word.
I can picture Martha, flitting from one thing to another, trying to prepare a meal and serve it in high style. She is running from one task to another, unable to focus on any one thing. She is hurried and frustrated. Her attitude is bad; her nerves are frazzled. Why? She allowed earthly tasks to become the center of her focus.
Martha's desire to be a good hostess and serve her guests a nice meal was not a bad desire. However, it should have taken a back seat to hearing the Word of the Lord. After all, she had the Messiah in her very own house! What an opportunity to absorb His Wisdom, what an opportunity to just sit in His presence! But, she got her eyes off of Jesus and became distracted with lesser things. And that is when stress entered the picture.
Martha seemed to think that Mary was goofing off. I have to admit, when reading this passage it has been tempting for me to see Mary through Martha's eyes. Should we picture Mary as a starry-eyed girl, sitting at Jesus's feet, with a dreamy look on her face? Was her head in the clouds? Was she behaving like some silly, backstage groupie? No way. The exact opposite had to be true. She had to be extremely mature, disciplined and diligent to be able to focus on Jesus and tune out the distractions around her. After all, Martha was probably slamming pans and clattering dishes to get her attention, but Mary had her eyes on the Master. She was zeroed in on the Word. She saw its importance and gave it the honor and attention it deserved. Imagine how much more efficient her sister Martha would have been if she had taken the time to listen to the Word and allow it to energize her.
During your quiet time with the Lord, are you easily distracted with things that you know you need to do? Maybe it's the laundry. Maybe it's a call you need to make. Whatever it is, that thought has been sent by the enemy to distract you from the one thing that is needful. If that describes you, I have a solution. Keep a pen and pad handy during your God time, and when a distracting thought comes, write it down so you can address it later. This will free you up to go back to focusing on the Lord. It is up to you to be on guard against distractions.
Or are you so distracted by life that you don't even have a time with the Lord each day? The truth is that we all find time to do the things we really want to do. It is just a matter of priority. Make time with God your first priority and schedule everything else around it. It doesn't have to be some really long period of time- just start with something.
I am going to close today with this same passage of scripture in The Passion Translation (TPT). Let its profound message get deep in your heart and influence how you choose to live your life.
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.”