Distractions of the Temporal


Luke 10:41 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things;  42 there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”


It is fascinating how history views Mary and Martha and what happened when Jesus came to visit. More contemporary commentators are quite critical of Martha and her “preoccupation” with hospitality. Interestingly the early Church Fathers are not critical of Martha, nor do they believe Jesus was being critical of her. Instead, they see the ministry of hospitality in which she was engaged as being vitally important. Augustine says that “with deep concern, she prepared what the Holy of Holies and his saints would eat and drink in her house.” But Jesus is also trying to make a point, just as he did with the woman at the well. She had to come and draw water on a daily basis and yet, he had water so that she would never thirst again — the water of eternal life. Martha was engaged in hospitality, temporal food for the visitors of the day and this was a good thing. At the same time Mary had discovered the eternal bread of life. She was eating on truth, on Jesus, the “bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:41)


We must all engage in the things of life which are temporal. The food which I prepare today will be eaten today and tomorrow the work must be done again. I have e-mails to answer today and tomorrow there will be more to answer again! But the spiritual food which I devour today, the time I spend with the Lord will continue to feed me and transform me into the woman of God that he desires. If I am not careful, the temporal issues of today can become a distraction to God’s long-term action/work within my life. The question really becomes one of priorities and giving attention to where attention is needed. The food did need to be served, but Martha also needed to learn to slow down and devour the eternal bread of life. So do you and I!


Lord, may I feast on you today.  Amen.


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