Don’t Get Distracted (05-09-20)
Bible Reading: Luke 10:38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were travelling along, 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."
It’s very easy to put off doing the things we know we ought to do, or to get distracted by the many things that offer themselves as alternatives in our busy lives. Focussing on the urgent, rather than the important, though, can often be at the expense of our relationships with family and friends.
The incident in the bible where Jesus goes round for a meal with his close friends Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus whom Jesus would later raise from the dead, has a tendency to divide Christians into the ‘Marys’, who apparently spend all their time worshipping Jesus, and the ‘Marthas’ who apparently spend all their time in the kitchen. But to divide Christians in this way is, I think, a too simplistic interpretation of the message and can lead to a feeling of condemnation for the so-called ‘Marthas’ and a feeling of superiority for the so-called ‘Marys’.
I think one of the key phrases in the passage is where we are told that ‘Martha was distracted by all the preparations.’ The problem with Martha was not that she was a practical person; the gifts of hospitality and serving are valuable gifts in every church and recognised in Paul’s letters. The problem with Martha was that she got worried and upset about many things and allowed them to distract her from spending time with Jesus.
Spending time quietly in the presence of Jesus was commended of Mary and is important for all of us. But let’s just hope that she helped with the preparations before Jesus arrived, and with the clearing up after he left!
We don’t have the same problem that Mary and Martha had, that Jesus would only be with them for a short time; Jesus is with us always, through the presence of his Spirit. But we still get distracted by all the preparations that have to be made and get worried and upset about many things.
What is it that distracts you from spending time with Jesus in prayer and in reflection on his word? For many of us it will be work, family commitments or the television, but for most of us, if you are anything like me, it is simply a matter of discipline; taking time aside before you start the day or making time to stop during the day. Let’s not get distracted from what is important.
I wonder if God is looking for Christians who have a balance of the Mary and the Martha, who will spend time in his presence and who will allow that time to enrich and inspire everything else that they do.
Forgive me, Father, for the times I get distracted form spending time with you and for the times I let busyness get in the way of my relationships with my family and friends. Help me to organise my time in ways that glorify you and serve others.