2004-11-04 - Distraction
Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; (NAS)
The world is a busy place. There are very few people who would argue that point in my experience. Some people seem to thrive in that kind of pressure cooker found in modern life. Doctors argue that a toll is exacted from even these people as the price of living with stress over a prolonged period of time. An over-abundance of tasks to complete combined with abbreviated sleep and poor meals eaten on the run is an all too familiar echo of work and life today.
It has been said that the pressing things in life are rarely urgent, and the urgent things in life are rarely pressing. This is as true in the opening days of the 21st century, it was in Jesus' day. I have caught myself letting things that seem to be important get in the way of friends and family on far too many occasions. There are times when it is trust upon you. These seem to be unavoidable. But there are other times when we unwittingly allow it. This is what has happened to Martha here.
Martha is concerned with the matter of attending to her guests. What are her concerns? She wants to be sure that those present are served properly, that their needs are met. She may be trying to make a good impression on her special guest, Jesus. It is understandable. Jesus is someone who is important to Martha personally. But this evening I think Jesus was intending to turn the tables and serve His guests. Martha was doing what she felt was her obligation according to society as the hostess. While her efforts were likely appreciated, Jesus had planned to be the host.
Martha's sister, Mary, had seated herself at the feet of Jesus and was listening to his words attentively. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen "the good part", to be the guest this evening. It was a very gentle rebuke, quite possibly said with a kind smile, in which Jesus pointed out to Martha that she was the one distracted, not Mary. We are not told of Martha's reaction, but I hope that she sat right down next to Mary and listened with her for the rest of the evening.
How easy it is to walk in Martha's shoes. Between work, school, home, serving, and fixing whatever problem has just come up, it is very easy to lose sight of the things that are truely important: spending time with family and friends, letting them know they are appreciated and cared for, time with God, sitting at His figurative feet learning. Before we are too hard on Martha, I think we need to look in the mirror and work on our own list of distractions.