“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 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!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'”
Man, Martha is so relatable because the world holds so many distractions and it is so easy to get turned off of the straight and narrow path. I look back and am run over by condemnation, I glance to the side and am struck by inadequacy. You know the blinders that horses wear sometimes?
Yeah, I need some of that action for my heart and mind.
Because, if you’ll kindly join me on a trip down memory lane to the traditional American middle school reading list, Hatchet by Gary Paulson taught us that even the slightest degree’s change in direction, if not corrected quickly, will turn into being stranded in the Canadian wilderness miles and miles away from the course set out before you. Basically, if you turn even slightly and continue on without straightening out again, you’ll find yourself far away from where you’re meant to be.
Like Martha, I get distracted by the things of this world rather than fixing my eyes on Him who rules it. I see work before worship and self before my Savior. Taking my eyes off of Christ for even a second and changing my course even the smallest degree can lead me into sin, which is why we are called to constantly course-correct at the feet of Jesus like Mary.
Jesus’ first instruction for doing this is to recognize that the only thing we need is Christ. No, not even food or water. It really is Christ. Who needs food and water if when we die we have another life waiting for us? That is… if you have Christ. So you see, Christ genuinely is all we need in every way.
Once we realize this though, we have to choose Him. We can’t just think about how Christ is preeminently essential, we need to choose Him as our everything. The best way I can think to explain it is that it’s like the game where “If you could take one thing on a desert island, what would you pick?” except for everything ever and Jesus is always the answer. It’s that simple, it’s that black and white.
Except we are going to struggle with choosing Him every second of every day for the rest of our lives because of our sin nature and fleshly desires’ affinity for distractions. But that’s cool because that struggle glorifies God. And that’s what we were put on earth to do! Every time you pick Jesus as the only thing that matters, the only essential thing ever, God is given glory.
So we can keep struggling and surrendering our Marthas and being transformed into Marys. For God’s glory and our good, we can put on blinders to worldly distractions and fix our eyes on the One who matters.
Whatever that distraction is for you, whatever continues to lead you astray time after time, God has given you power over it! If His Spirit lives in you then you have been given both the desire and the power to overcome temptations (Phil 2:13). It’s not easy, but everything is possible with Christ. So, take heart! Continually deny worldliness, and remain on the straight and narrow path. Continually choose Christ, and He will not be taken away from you.