Luke 10:38-42 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was distracted with much serving. Martha was DISTRACTED with much serving. Martha was distracted with MUCH serving. Anxious….troubled about many things….one thing is necessary….the good portion….will not be taken away.
My go-to response to people when they ask how things are has been “Oh, you know, busy!”. As if that explains everything away. As if that excuses my behaviour, my mixed-up priorities, my utterly distraction-filled life.
Sometimes I feel like my life is like this – a zoo, a blur, a flurry of constant activity, wheels spinning, jumping from one thing to the next, dropping in exhaustion at the end of the day, only to pick up with 100 different things the next day.
Sunday’s sermon was on the title of this post – Stop Distraction, Start Devotion! We are spreading ourselves a mile wide and an inch deep – with all of the technology at our fingertips, it is easy to be constantly connected with people, but never actually CONNECTING with them. We can have our “quiet times” on our e-books and read our bible off our phone/ipod/ipad/kindle/laptop/computer – then go straight into e-mail and blogging/hopping without a second though, our hearts not connected with God. We have a beep for everything, which yells at us “Pay attention! Something important is happening and you’re missing it!”.
Distracted. It seems to me that it is very difficult to really put everything we’ve got into something. Whether it be caring for our family, our hearts, or our quiet time before the Lord.
Here, Martha pulls Jesus out of the street, into her home. Then she busies her body and mind with serving, while her sister Mary busies her ears and heart at the feet of Jesus, drinking in his every word. Martha’s actions are not wrong. Her distrACTION is. She doesn’t just make a roast chicken, some rolls and rice, throw together some veggies and place it on the table. She goes all out. We’re talking more like a 6-course, elaborate feast which ends with cupcakes she spent HOURS designing to get them to look just right.
The question is, why? Why is she doing all this? To gain favour? To look good to Jesus and all the others around her? To make herself feel good?
Distraction draws us away from what is important, dividing our minds and preventing us from concentrating. It disturbs and greatly troubles our minds. It separates us from others – and especially Christ. Martha invited Jesus into her home, the same way we invite Christ into our homes and lives as our Saviour. She knew who he was and yet she didn’t even have 5 minutes to stop and just listen to his words – the same way we allow other things to get in the way of our devotion to Christ.
She busied her hands and her mind preparing a feast, running in a hundred different directions at once. Anxious. Troubled. The same way we are always thinking about the next step, the next thing on the list, the next e-mail to answer, the next blog post to write, which chores weren’t finished yet, the exercise I didn’t get to this morning.
Instead of being peaceful, resting, feasting on Jesus’ love and wisdom.
I am no different. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to- day things, doing them for the sake of others admiring your abilities, service or “dedication”. I have been there a hundred times before. But it all means nothing.
1 Peter 1:24-25 says:
“All flesh is like grass, and all the glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”
The only way I know to deal with these distractions, this much serving, these good things gone bad is by making a deliberate choice to devote my time to the Lord outside of these things. The strength will come from him to do this, but the choice comes from me. I already know what I need to do: turn off the computer/phone/laptop/touchpad (and notifications! :D) and LEAVE them off until my quiet time is done; go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier; PLAN and make God’s word and prayer a priority FIRST THING each day; ask for a hunger and thirst for his word, understanding and wisdom.
I’m ready to move away from distraction, to put what is really important FIRST. I’m tired of running on half-empty every day, spreading myself too thin. I’m ready to go a mile deep and an inch wide. I’m ready to be wholly devoted to the one who made me and I’m willing to do what it takes – are you?