This Mother’s Day weekend we look at the encounter two women have with Jesus in their home. You have heard their names before. Mary and Martha. It’s a message of encouragement for all who become distracted even in the midst of our encounter with God.
Luke Chapter 10, verse 38. “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 only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)(NIV)
Right out of the gate I see this encounter between Martha and Jesus differently than I have in all my other readings. We are often critical of “busy” Martha, but I get where she is coming from and I think, more times than not, you do too. 13 men show up at her door for a place to hang, something to eat, and while Martha is eager to invite them in, she soon becomes distracted by all the preparations. Mary, on the other hand, seems relaxed sitting at Jesus feet taking in every word he has to say.
So, if Jesus were out front of your situation, your house, right here in this moment, would you invite Him in for dinner like Martha did? It doesn’t seem that Martha was too worried. She eagerly invited Jesus in and showed Him the kind of authentic hospitality appropriate for Jesus and his men. But eventually she couldn’t help herself. Luke says that Martha got caught up in the preparations and they became the focus. But the real distraction was what her sister, Mary, wasn’t doing. Here is our first observation: Comparisons breed anxiety and discontentment.
It’s unhealthy when what we started out doing for Jesus becomes more about us than it is Him.
Discontentment is a huge distraction even though Jesus is right there doing something big in our own living room, we are often times captured by what someone else is doing or experiencing.
The next thing we read is that Martha goes to Jesus. Even seems demanding in her request, but Jesus doesn’t rebuke her. Jesus meets Martha where she is, as she is, and listens to her tirade without batting an eye. You have that kind of audience with Jesus too. He doesn’t get miffed or offended when you come to Him in the middle of emotional upheaval. He doesn’t seem to mind if you tell Him exactly what you’re feeling. The question is, are you willing to hear what He has to say? Are you willing to make the necessary adjustment in your life? Are you willing to meet Him as He has met you? You see, The distractions in my life often identify current and future areas of growth in my relationship with God. And that seems to be the focus of this visit and the reason why it makes the pages of Luke’s gospel. Distractions happen. But what we do with them makes all the difference.
After Martha says her piece, Jesus offers her these words. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
If you hear Jesus making a comparison between the two women, I think you are missing it. What Jesus is doing here is pulling Martha back in from the things that have distracted her and reminding her of why she was making all the preparations to begin with. He takes her back to the reason she invited him into her home to begin with.
Jesus reminds Martha what to be “concerned” with, where to focus, and what should take a front row seat – Our relationship with Him.
Truly living in the presence of God is the single most important focus of my life. Now, that’s easier said than done. Right? And we often, like Martha, try to justify our distractions as being important. And many of them are. But the moment that the distraction becomes the focus we’ve lost sight of the most important thing.
Henry Blackaby, in his study “Experiencing God” put it this way: “Everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing Him and experiencing Him, everything about knowing His will depends on the quality of your love relationship with God. If that is not settled, nothing in your life will be right. Your walk with the Lord is the single most important aspect of your life. If it is not as it should be, nothing else will function properly. So make sure you are investing your life, your time, your resources in things that will last, not in things that will pass away. You must recognize that God created you for eternity, or you will invest in the wrong priorities.”
“What is the “one thing” in your life that would put distractions in proper perspective, that would allow you to know God’s peace, direction, grace, love and presence? More simply put – “What has your attention right now that is keeping you from sitting down at his feet?”
My challenge to you this Mother’s Day weekend, no matter how busy or cluttered your mind is on this day, is to engage that “one thing” that makes all the difference in your life. He is right there in the room with you. His name is Jesus. Make Him first again. Let Him be the Lord of your every day, every thought, every move.
I look forward to our encounter together this weekend. Come and honor the ladies in your life this Saturday at 5:30 and Sunday at 10:30. I look forward to celebrating with you. Dave