Today's entry from Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest was all about distractions. The quote I shared earlier on Twitter came out of this paragraph:
“Beware of ‘the cares of this world,’ because they are the things that produce a wrong temper of soul. It is extraordinary what an enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention from God. Refuse to be swamped with the cares of this life.”
- Oswald Chambers
I briefly mentioned the story of Mary and Martha in a post a few days ago. Thinking about all this (and how guilty I am in getting sucked into the abyss of distractions) made me go back into Luke 10 and really take a look at the story again…
As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” - Luke 10:38-42
Verse 40 in the NIV says that Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. But I love the way the NLT puts it… distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. A tad bit amusing to be reading that version on the night before many of us dig into our Thanksgiving dinners. But seriously though, is it just me or do any of you think that sometimes Martha gets a bad rap? Think about it for a moment. She wasn’t out galavanting in the streets. She was at home fixing a meal for Jesus! I am pretty sure that if Jesus were coming over to any of our houses, we’d probably be doing the same. It’s not a bad thing to prepare a meal, it's just that it distracted Martha from doing the best thing.
Here we are on Thanksgiving Eve and I can imagine that a ton of you are preparing your big dinners this very moment. (And let's be real, all of us who will be partaking of that yummy goodness tomorrow are thankful for your preparations!) However, I found this to be a great reminder, in light of the holiday madness that has already begun, to stay focused on Jesus.
In the midst of the (almost inevitable) busyness of Thanksgiving and Christmastime, may God help us to be mindful and to take the time, like Mary did, to step away from the preparations (which there will always be plenty of anyway) and choose what is better… sitting at Jesus’ feet. What good is it for us to do for Jesus if we can't just sit and be with Jesus. After all, it's all about Him! And He wants to be with us.
Let’s refuse to be swamped with the cares of life and choose to be consumed with the Giver of Life, the Lover of our souls. He doesn't want our works, He wants our hearts.
May the Lord have our hearts this season and always.