Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "From Ocean Unto Ocean"1 (Lyrics)
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.