Distraction

February 27, 2019
by JJ Ollerenshaw

Luke 10:40a – But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. (NIV)

Do you ever enter a room, and then wonder why? (Please say that I am not the only one who does this.) What am I doing? I look around, puzzled. With an exasperated sigh, I go back to the place where I was before, hoping to trigger my memory. Ah, yes! I return quite happily to do whatever it was that I set out to do, but wonder how I became so distracted.

In today's story, Martha was busy making supper, but her sister Mary was not helping. Mary was sitting there, listening to Jesus. That bothered Martha. She wanted Mary's help with her chores, and she tried to draw Jesus into her problem.

Jesus, however, refused to be diverted. He asked which was more important at that particular moment: making supper or listening to Him? We always have a choice.

Sometimes, we are in a hurry when someone unexpectedly stops us and wants to chat. We really don't have the time — but it might be important. The other person could have a problem, or maybe they just want to spend a little time with someone. When we stop and smile, we brighten up their day. The truth is that we are about God's work. He puts that person in our path for a reason.

Or when we are busy with a chore, a child comes to us, visibly upset. We stop what we're doing, give her a hug and kiss, listen to her story, and wipe away the tears. She trots away quite content. Now, where were we? What were we doing before we were interrupted — by God's work?

Acts 20:24 – However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. (NIV)

The apostle Paul likens life to a race and encourages us to stay on track. When I write, either to prisoners or for a devotional, there is a risk that my readers might find the truth offensive, or that they might think that I meant something that I never intended. If someone argues a point or diverts attention, it's tempting to be pulled off-track into a fruitless discussion.

Let's get our priorities straight. Sometimes, our mind is simply elsewhere. Even good and necessary things, like preparing supper, can distract us from God's work. Next time we become sidetracked, let's stop for a moment and ask ourselves what we are supposed to be doing.

Prayer: Father God, You are our Lord, and You give us a job to do. Forgive us for often being distracted. Help us to run the race with perseverance and to fix our eyes on the prize: Jesus. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <sandjollie86@gmail.com>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Thank you for this reminder.


    Thanks for the good word, JJ.


    Thank-you JJ, Interesting thought.
    (Ontario)


    Beautiful reflection! And so true about distractions blessings.


    Hi,
    How well I can relate to this devotional! Thank you for writing it was very good!


    Amen. I definitely could relate to your first paragraph. In fact, I could have written it. Great message. Blessings.


    Thanks, JJ. My Bible study group is studying the story of Mary and Martha right now so this is a welcome addition.


    Thanks, JJ, for an on-point message. Oh, so true… sorry to say. Praising God for His forgiveness and strength to carry on. Blessings.


    Dear JJ,
    It is difficult to keep all of our priorities balanced. Thank you for this lesson on distraction.
    (USA)


    Hello, wow, this was a good one and great to really think about and look at how we look at distractions and what is important. Thank you.
    God bless.


    Simply Wonderful, JJ! From the very first, perfect translation of Luke (such simple words), always clear and to the point, the personal examples touching our hearts as the truth fills our souls. Memorable. So glad you were inspired to write it today. Helps me.


    Greetings,
    I chuckled reading your bit on going into a room and trying to remember what you came for. Exactly what I find myself doing from time to time! Yes, it is so easy to be distracted but we definitely need to keep our heart and mind on our loving Jesus. Our true treasures of life rest with Him. Thank you, JJ, for this devotional.
    Blessings,
    (Ecuador)


    Oh yes, Type A personalities have trouble with that! We have our agenda and the must-get-done-today list. I have a few friends who are sooo, annoying – because they arrive late and are in no hurry to leave. Late because they got talking to someone else, and slow to leave because they are engrossed in our visit. They care about ME and my well-being so in no hurry to leave before they have encouraged me. They represent Jesus much better than I do, I think.


    Oh my, does this resonate with me.
    Last week I was at the local mall. Often seniors gather in the food court for a coffee and a chat. I was running through, as usual, and I saw a fellow sitting alone who I thought was from our former Church who lost his wife in the last year. What did I do? I kept on going. I felt so bad while I was doing my errands. I went back to the food court because I felt so ashamed of myself. When I got there, the man was still there, but it turns out he was not the fellow I know. Guess my eyes are leaving me too.
    When I went outside, then was an older woman trying to cross an ice-laden snow bank. As I approached, I realized it was someone I knew that is known to talk a fair bit. I thought, you have a duty to help her. I went over and helped her across the bank. Yes, we chatted for a while, but the good feeling I had from helping her and from going back to see the gentleman I thought I knew was so rewarding.
    Thanks for your kind remember. We always have a choice, you are absolutely right.
    Blessings.


    Do I ever relate to this! I work in a field with many deadlines, and distractions really bother me when I am racing against the clock. A delay can seriously inconvenience someone else, and I have always found it difficult to assess, in a pressured moment, which has what I call “Divine priority.” So sometimes I just pause for a moment and ask the Lord. “What is my Divine priority right now?”
    Sometimes my whole day gets shuffled around, other times the opposite. But this is the only thing that works for me.

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