Focus: it’s a concept that some people inherently understand. Athletes get it, surgeons get it, performers get it. I’ve been involved in a lot of stage productions, and when I read Luke 10:38-41, I study it as a scene in a script and analyze the characters involved. At first, I felt for Martha. History would remember her as distracted, anxious, and troubled. But, she seemed focused, and on target to me. Then I realized that I am just like Martha; more concerned about the “what-when-where-how” of life and distracted from Who really matters and Why.
If we were guests that day, we might have identified with Martha’s situation. Perhaps we’d think, “Mary is a sweet girl, but wow, talk about irresponsible and lazy. She’s sitting there; always somewhere else. Her sister is always on. Martha is truly a servant!” Or maybe we’d say, “Martha, learn to delegate and get organized. You probably should’ve thought ahead and planned. Learn to multi-task more efficiently.”
At first glance, I thought Mary was the one with an attention deficit, but Martha is the one who is distracted. The difference? She was taking responsibility for things, yet Mary was responding toSomeone (v. 39). Perhaps Martha was on the edge of a breakdown, but Jesus would get her attention and turn it into a breakthrough (v. 41-42).
We live in a “responsible for” age, but Jesus gives us permission to tune out the world and all its distractions — to freely and joyfully respond to His voice. Stop, look and listen.
If Martha were an archer, you might say she’d been hitting the bulls eye with precision and form, but aiming at the wrong target altogether, because she was trying to be everything to everyone but Jesus. I think she might have fought burnout, insecurity and sleeplessness and would often lose the battle-succumbing to cynicism, comparison, exhaustion and resentment. I can identify, can you? Jesus got her attention — he knew what she needed to do. We aren’t made to multi-task and we certainly can’t hear and respond to many voices at one time. Can you hear Jesus saying, “stop, look at me, pay attention; be with me, listen to me, follow me?”
True servanthood springs out of heart-to-heart communion with Jesus. But too often, I’m distracted by voices and expectations welling up within me and around me. Living as Christ’s follower is more a matter of stripping away and removing distractions than taking on and doing more. Be with Jesus right now; push all the “where-what-how-when” of life aside, and refocus upon Who and Why — this is the target. Seek first the kingdom …(Matthew 6:33).
“I live before the audience of One-before others I have nothing to gain, nothing to lose, nothing to prove.” – Os Guinness, in The Call
By Dave Hook
Pastor of Worship Arts
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