Saturday, April 2, 2022

Are You Focused Or Distracted?

I've just finished teaching a series on my podcast entitled "Are You Focused Or Distracted?" The series is based on Luke 10:38-42. Jesus visits the home of Martha and Mary, sisters of Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. What a contrast between Mary, who was focused on Jesus, sitting at His feet, and Martha, distracted from Jesus by her preparations in the kitchen. I can understand Martha being distracted, wanting everything to be perfect for Jesus and His disciples. After all, very special guests were in her home.

Martha apparently was a natural server. I've known many folks along my walk with Jesus who would do just about anything for me, to benefit me in some way. These had the gift of serving. God gifts such persons for the purpose of serving and blessing others. So let's understand, Martha was not evil. Her problem (which according to Jesus was a lifestyle for her), was that her serving was more for her own personal gratification. She was a perfectionist. When things were not perfect, she stressed! According to Jesus, she missed out on the only thing necessary, which could never be taken away from her, by not sitting at His feet and receiving from Him.

On the other hand, Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to His Words. Earlier Jesus said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." (John 6:63) The most important thing to Mary was not how well she could please Jesus, but how much Spirit and life she could receive from Him, humbly seated at His feet. Mary understood that time and space were important to Jesus, and eternally significant to Her. What do I mean by time and space? Well, time is self-explanatory. Mary realized that time in Jesus' presence was far more beneficial than stressing out over a meal in the kitchen. I also mentioned space or "place". Mary purchased the place (at Jesus' feet) with her time. Her decision to spend or "purchase" time with Jesus determined her place...sitting at the feet of Jesus. And according to Jesus, what she chose was the good part, the only thing necessary, which could never be taken away from her.

The significance of Martha's stress, worry, and anxiety would last for maybe an hour our two, but certainly not throughout eternity as would the significance of what Mary chose.

Martha's desire to serve and make things just right was not in itself evil. But the harm was that it distracted her from choosing the good part; being seated at Jesus' feet, receiving His eternal Word. Most Christians today are distracted from precious intimacy with Jesus. Why? Because most American Christians are simply too busy! 

We all have the same amount of time in each day. Time is like currency. With it we purchase our priorities. If Jesus is THE priority in your life, you will "spend" your time to purchase the space in which you develop intimacy with Him. For me it's our guest bedroom. Early every morning this guestroom is transformed into a holy sanctuary in which I hang out with Jesus. I anticipate my time with Him through the night because I sense He is anticipating being with me each morning. It's worth the investment! Time and space with Jesus, like Mary seated at the feet of Jesus, produces a supernatural strength and sensitivity to His Spirit throughout the whole day.

In no way am I saying that serving is evil. But true service (and any form of serving Jesus and others) should be born out of time and space at the feet of Jesus. This enhances the gift of serving and adds the supernatural element of Holy Spirit.

So, are you Mary or Martha? Are you focused on Jesus, or distracted from Him by life itself. Let me encourage you. Like Mary, choose the good part. Choose the only thing necessary which can NEVER be taken away from you!


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