Martha, Martha you are worried and distracted 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.
Luke 10:38 42
The problem with Martha is not that she is busy serving and providing hospitality. Certainly Jesus commends this kind of service to the neighbor many times. The problem with Martha is not her serving, but rather that she is worried and distracted. The word translated “distracted” has the connotation of being pulled or dragged in different directions.
Martha’s distraction and worry leave no room for the most important aspect of hospitality — gracious attention to the guest. Martha’s worry and distraction prevent her from being truly present with Jesus, and cause her to drive a wedge between her sister and herself, and between Jesus and herself. She has missed out on the “one thing needed” for true hospitality. There is no greater hospitality than listening to your guest. So Jesus says that Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.
Jesus’ words to Martha may be seen as an invitation rather than a rebuke. Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. The one thing needed is for Martha to receive the gracious presence of Jesus, to listen to his words, to know that she is valued not for what she does or how well she does it, but for who she is as a child of God.
Adapted from Elizabeth Johnson
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
What causes you to be worried and distracted? How can you refocus?
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.”
For most of us, the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it. We will just skim our lives instead of actually living them.
A man is hindered and distracted in proportion as he draws outward things to himself.
Thomas a Kempis
There is never a time when new distraction will not show up; we sow them, so several will grow from the same seed.
Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
When you connect to the silence within you, that is when you can make sense of the disturbance going on around you.
Temperamentally anxious people can have a hard time staying motivated, period, because their intense focus on their worries distracts them from their goals.