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”—Luke 10:38-42 (ESV).
Reaching for my Bible, I noticed dust coating the chairside table in my bedroom. It’s my sacred place, a place where I dedicate time to visit with God and study His Word each morning. That morning, however, I was distracted by dust.
My thoughts turned to other things needing cleaning. Mop the kitchen floor. Run the vacuum cleaner. Scrub the tub. The list was endless.
Glancing out the window beside me, I wondered when I’d last cleaned my windows. They were in desperate need of Windex, inside and out.
Distracted and Desperate
Reading the above, you might think I’m a terrible housekeeper. I’m not. I just finally got my priorities straight.
When I was younger, having a spotless house at all times was important to me. My floors were so clean you could’ve eaten off of them. When expecting visitors, I desperately scrubbed, dusted, polished, and vacuumed, even if everything was already pristine.
Where did I get this tendency to think everything had to be perfect at all times? I credit my mother, who instilled in my sister and me, a good work ethic. However, it became an obsession with me. I had to impress others. I was a people pleaser.
Letting Go of Martha
Yes, I was a Martha before Jesus got ahold of me. I drove my family crazy with my obsessive cleaning and compulsive need to have everything in its proper place and a place for everything.
When I realized my place was at the feet of my Savior, my priorities changed. I could let go of the need to be in control of my surroundings and my life. But, I confess, it was a process, not an overnight change.
As I embraced my inner Mary, seeking to learn from scripture and to listen for that still, small voice directing my path, I was no longer consumed with impressing others. Jesus set me free from the ‘need to please’.
Staying Focused on Jesus
American author and pastor John MacArthur offers this insight: “The more you focus on yourself, the more distracted you will be from the proper path. The more you know Him and commune with Him, the more the Spirit will make you like Him. The more you are like Him, the better you will understand His utter sufficiency for all of life’s difficulties. And that is the only way to know real satisfaction.”
Martha was distracted and let the cares of preparing a meal create a problem that didn’t exist. I can relate. Mary knew what was important and it wasn’t bustling around the kitchen to impress guests. Her heart was connected to Jesus. She was drawn to her Savior.
As Jesus said when confronted by Martha, “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.”
Distracted by the World
We can become anxious and troubled about many things, including the world around us. Being distracted by worldly events or being attracted to the things of this world can interfere with what really matters: a relationship with Jesus.
1 John 2:15 reminds us of this: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Don’t let the noise of this world detract you from hearing the Lord’s voice. After all, God did not create us to live a distracted life. He created us to live a Jesus-filled life.
I always love hearing from my readers. Please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com with your thoughts, or visit my blog for more inspiration at www.carolaround.com. If you need a speaker or workshop leader, you can contact me at the above e-mail or through my website. I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Photo credit: http://www.atl7cleaning.com/