We all understand that the things of this world can distract us from our devotion to God. But seemingly good things, like our religious activities and our service to Him, can make us busy and distracted, too. Could there be something in your life that’s distracting you from whole-hearted devotion to God? If so, what can you do about it?
Joshua 11 & 12
When You’re Too Busy & Distracted
Samaritans, Servants & Busyness
This passage contains two very familiar stories: Jesus’ teaching on the Good Samaritan and the story of Mary and Martha.
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Notice that little phrase “wanting to justify himself.” He knew what the law said, but his desire was to be justified, to look good, maybe to be sure his ticket to heaven was valid. He was focused on himself, not God and others.
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
These men were religious. But in another passage, Jesus said they enjoyed praying on the street corners and doing good deeds to look good to others (Matt. 6.1-5). They thought their knowledge of the law and their heritage guaranteed them a place in heaven (Jn. 8.39). They were focused on their importance and religiosity. But what Jesus saw was their lack of love and obedience.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
This religious lawyer knew what the law said, but he failed to grasp the meaning of it. If we love God, we’ll have more than a desire to know the law. We should have a desire to obey it. Obeying it means loving those God places in our paths, whether we consider them friends or enemies. It means going out of our way to help others just as the Samaritan did.
In verses 38-42 we meet Martha and her sister Mary.
38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Martha was blessed with the gift of serving. She probably did it well and was, most likely, a blessing to many.
Jesus didn’t say serving was wrong. In fact, serving is one of the Holy Spirit inspired gifts to the body of Christ. The problem wasn’t that Martha wanted to serve; the problem
was that she was “distracted” by it. She was focused on her busyness. Continue reading