38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Making sure one’s life is in focus is of utmost importance. In fact, many people are more prepared for “retiring” than for dying, more prepared for this life than for the next. Is this the case for you? There are a couple of things that stand out to me from this passage in Luke that I have to remember if I want to keep my focus for life.
Realize What Distracts Me.
Martha was distracted as the verse says. And her distractions came from something “good” in life. She was busy about serving the Lord, preparing a meal for Him and the disciples. There was nothing inherently wrong with what she was doing; except that it distracted her from what was of greatest importance. There are going to be days when I will have to choose between what is good, better or best. What I have to remember is: say yes to the best and say no to the rest. Anything can become a distraction: things, people, or service. An old tongue twister I heard years ago is a great reminder to me in times like this: the main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing. Martha had this chance to have Jesus in her home and to spend intimate time with Him but she got caught up in serving. She got more involved in what she was doing instead of why she was doing it.
Remember Why I Am Doing What I Am Doing.
I believe that Martha’s heart was full of good intentions and plans when she invited Jesus and the guys over. But then something happened. She got overwhelmed by trying to pull off a huge meal. She got involved in all the details of the day and got lost in frustration and anger. When overwhelmed with projects, service, people, and busyness, it’s easy to become exhausted emotionally and spiritually. Running on emotional and spiritual fumes leads to a fuming attitude, and Martha certainly had one. She had forgotten why she was doing the preparation. She had forgotten who it was she was doing this for. It became all about her, what was fair or “right”. She had forgotten that she was the one who had invited Jesus over for the meal and her attitude had dissolved into an accusatory assault not only on her sister but her guest. Martha had completely lost focus. When I am blaming others or blaming God for work that I am doing or chose to do, then my life is out of focus.
Refocus On Jesus.
Martha came to Jesus with her complaint but she was not awarded her request. Jesus gently rebukes her and then explains that Mary had chosen the right thing, which was to focus on the Lord, listening to what He said. Martha was asking…even demanding that Jesus tell her to help. But Jesus isn’t persuaded nor inclined to do so. This requires Martha to refocus on Jesus. All things come to a halt. Martha has to stop for a moment and refocus. Her sensibility and frustrations are now called into the light. “Why are you so worried about this, Martha?” In other words; Where did you lose your focus? How did this happen? Let’s stop for a few minutes and look at this from a different perspective. Jesus asks the same of me. Of you. Can you hear me now?
George Lockhart is a missionary with Vision 2 Hear and serves as the Creative/Mission Pastor at New Vision Church in Fayetteville, GA