As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, 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.”
In this week’s Pause reading, we find Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha. If you’ve read this portion of scripture or heard a sermon on it, you know that Martha is often made out to be the “bad guy.” But how many of you can relate to Martha? We often chastise her because she is so busy. But something caught my eye this time…the word distracted.
I like to imagine that Martha was in the kitchen making sandwiches for Jesus and His disciples. Not necessarily an evil action. But Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to Him speak, soaking in His words, being in His presence. Martha was distracted and worried. There was so much to do, and while she could have also sat at Jesus’ feet, instead, she let the cares of the day distract her. How much time did she miss with Jesus? Time that she would not be able to regain.
It got me thinking. How often am I distracted? More often than I’d like to admit! And while sometimes I’m distracted by chores or tasks that do need to be accomplished, like feeding my family or cleaning my house, I also find myself distracted by what was meant to be a convenience, but has become so much more…my smart phone. How much time do I spend aimlessly scrolling through my phone, seeing other people’s food or trips or kids, while my own kids are sitting in the same room with me.
My personal word for this year is focus. I realize that over the last few years, I have lost some focus, as the distractions of this world (and my phone) have increasingly taken up more and more of my time. How much time have I lost with my kids, with my husband, with my Savior, that I can’t regain?
This year, I’m making a determination to be present. To be focused. To not be so easily distracted. And while, from time to time, I do need to be making sandwiches, I will work hard to not give time to worry or aimless distraction.
In last week’s Pause devotional, Pastor Tim said, “one of the best ways to start to learn to hear Jesus is by being habitually immersed in His Word.” I don’t want to let any distraction get in the way of that. I often feel like I could use a few more hours in my day. But if I’m honest and able to lay aside the distraction of my phone, email, social media, etc., I think I’ll find all kinds of extra time that I forgot I had.
I’m planning to spend some of that rediscovered time immersed in the Word of God, as I follow the Pause Bible Reading Plan. Some of that time will be spent in prayer. I think I’ll have time to read other books too, something that I haven’t been able to focus on for a while. Oh, and I think I’ll spend some of my regained time with my family, focusing on them and not on my phone.
As we head into 2018, let’s be more like Mary. I encourage you to spend some time praying about what you may be worried about or distracted by, and purpose to lay those things aside and, instead, focus on Jesus. Spend time in His presence, immersing yourself in His Word. You will grow to know His voice better. And I think you’ll be thankful for the regained time.
Pastor Deborah Clark