I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Brittney Smith (WITHIN Devotional Writer)
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (Luke 10:40 NIV)
Yes, I picked a word for the year. Sometimes it feels like a futile exercise, but I enjoy the intentionality and reflection it brings no matter how short lived it may be. For 2021, I have two words!
“Focus and Follow”.
It took a long time for me to realize how distracted I had become. Probably because I thought a distraction was something unimportant and inconsequential. This story of Martha and Mary showed me how distractions can be valuable matters of the heart that have become skewed and in need of God’s tidying.
Luke 10:40 explicitly tells us that Martha’s distraction was the various chores she had to do. But when she goes to Jesus, she doesn’t only complain about her work for the day. At the heart of her complaint is her sister.
I imagine Martha inviting Jesus into her home, fully anticipating her sister Mary to be by her side helping with his accommodations. I imagine this was something they most likely did together in the past. However, this time there was no warning or prior communication from Mary that she would not be helping that day but listening to Jesus’ teaching instead.
I see Martha as a little blindsided by the change, dare I say negligence, from Mary. Martha was not prepared for a shift in her sister’s priorities. She became irritated, indignant, and vexed at Mary for leaving her alone when she thought she needed her in that moment.
So you see, distractions aren’t always obvious. The fruit shows up in one area, but the roots are in another. We see Martha distracted with chores, but her heart is on her sister.
The root of her distraction was the pain of being left alone by someone she depended on. The distraction was what someone else was doing or not doing. CHANGE from how things used to be or how she thought they would be was her distraction. Mary’s change affected Martha indirectly.
Although Martha got a little spicy with Jesus about it, I love the fact that she took her issue to him first. The second thing I love is how Jesus didn’t ask Martha to change her tone before she addressed him. Jesus basically said I’m not going to deal with the other person. I’m going to deal with YOU and your heart.
By the end of it, Jesus empowered Martha by letting her know people are free to choose what they want to do whether we like it or not and Martha was free to choose her course as well. He took the helplessness and victimhood out of her perspective and let her know she, too, could choose to do something better or different with her time and energy…So can you.
The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 Peter 4:8-10
Questions to Reflect on: