The Main Thing
Have you ever felt like there are so many things seeking your attention? That the list of things to do grows long the harder you work at it? That was the way that Martha felt when Jesus came to visit her house. Luke 10:40 tells us Martha was distracted with all her preparation.
One thing that I have learned in over fifty years of following the Lord is that if the devil cannot stop you, he will distract you. Martha was distracted from doing the main thing. The Greek word for distracted is perispaō. It means to be drawn away. There are so many things that can draw us away from the main thing in our lives.
Luke tells us that Martha was distracted or drawn away by all her preparation. Now remember the setting that Martha was in. Jesus is coming to her house! Jesus, this man who is being followed through Israel by thousands of people. Jesus, the man who some are saying is the Messiah. He is coming to her house! Martha was distracted by all the things she had to do for Jesus. She had to prepare the food that was fit for a king. She had to clean the house. She needed to make sure that everything was in order. So many times, we find ourselves doing things for Jesus. But are these things the main thing? That is the question.
Martha’s busyness turned into something harmful. Martha said to Jesus, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do all these things? Martha was angry but who was she angry with? She was angry at Jesus. The distraction had accomplished its objective. It drew Martha away from Jesus and from what He was saying. So many good believers have been drawn away by things done for Jesus. It is the largest struggle in my life and the lives of many others. The devil will not stop us, but he will attempt to draw our hearts away to the point that we become angry with Jesus.
Jesus’s reply to Martha was amazing. Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about many things. Martha was concerned about doing things for Jesus but not with spending time with Jesus. These things began to bother her. The Greek word for bothered is turbazō and it mean to be confused or troubled. Martha had lost her peace.
What Jesus says next will restore Martha’s peace. It will resolve the conflict between her and Mary. Jesus says, there is one thing necessary. Martha thinks she has a hundred things to do but Jesus says there is one thing necessary. Jesus didn’t tell Martha to stop doing all she was doing. Jesus was saying that one thing needs to be at the foundation of everything else. The Greek word for necessary is chreia. The way it is used tells us that one thing is needed for everything else to be built on.
What is that one thing? Mary was doing it. Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus. This was a place that we see Mary taking on several occasions. It was a place of rest in the presence of her Savior. Mary was simply sitting at Jesus’s feet and listening to Him teach. That is the main thing, the one thing that is needed in our lives. When it happens, everything else will come together.