Ever experience a time in your life when all the bad stuff seemed to happen quickly and at the same time? As soon as something bad happens, you get slammed with another situation that makes you feel like there is not enough you? The month of November proved to be a challenge for my family. We went from peace to WHAT IS GOING ON!!??? In a single week, we had all of our motivation pretty much drained.
Sunday: a giant tree branch fell on our front porch. It sounded like an explosion and rattled the entire house.
Tuesday: we had a house fire outside the property that destroyed the external siding of the wall. We do not have the money to repair it. A neighbor put out the fire while we were still inside the home. The firefighters told me later that this could have been fatal. It was a raging fire that took place directly across the gas tank of our vehicle and an external gas tank.
Wednesday: one of our pipes exploded and flooded the three stories of our home. We had to puncture the ceiling on the second floor to prevent it from sagging. We cannot afford to pay for repairs. Oh….water flooded into our basement almost causing an electric short that could have resulted in a house fire.
Friday/Saturday: family members got sick.
Sunday: I had a stomach sickness that did not allow me to physically attend church. I was hoping to go and ‘feel better’ about our week.
By Monday, I was drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed. I could not find a way to pray without feeling as if God had simply turned His back on my family. I went into the self-victimization place; this is a place where nobody should go to. I’ve been walking and struggling with the Lord for a very long time. I should know better. Still, I prayed in obedience and remembered when Jesus visited Martha and Mary.
God uses Luke 10:38-42 to remind us of our constant ability to lose focus and perspective. Martha welcomed Jesus into her home; however, she missed the mark on what was truly important while Jesus visited. Her sister Mary focused on Jesus’ teachings, while Martha continued to be busy herself with serving. Let’s stop right here and consider Martha’s situation; she has none other than Jesus in her home. She must have been stressed out and anxious about her home. Jesus was popular in his time; people traveled to hear him teach and heal. Remember the times when you had a special visitor in your home. You probably did all the things you never do (if you do, I salute you). Clean, vacuum, do laundry, bathe your pets (if you have them), mop the floors, scrub counters, clean the stove, wipe the microwave (ugh…I don’t have a microwave, but you get it!). Martha was under so much stress. She is doing all this stuff, looks over, and what does she see? Martha sees her sister Mary enjoying the company of Jesus. How is this fair?
Luke 10:40 “But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, ‘ Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.'”
We understand Martha’s frustration, but we may not like so much Jesus’ response. The first time that I read this passage, I was pretty upset at Jesus. I truly believed that he was being completely unfair. Could he not see all the troubles that Martha had gone through to make his visit comfortable? This was all about Him, after-all!
Or was it?
You see? Deep within us there is this sense of pride; it comes to the surface when we are placed in social situations. This is especially true when we are to receive visitors in our homes. Home is such a personal space. We don’t want anyone to know our messy secrets. That we do not always clean our bathrooms. We don’t want people to know that we’ve allowed hair to get stuck in the carpet. Oh, and what about the dishes in the sink? Think of Martha’s struggle here.
Nevertheless, Jesus calms her spirit by reminding her of what is truly important.
Luke 10:41-21 “But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.'”
Jesus reminds us all to focus on the “good portion” to ensure that it will not be “taken away” from us. Where are you placing your focus? Is your spirit anxious and troubled? While it may be tempting to get trapped into evaluating what is fair or unfair in this scenario, we are to analyze what is truly important here. This is not a situation of fair or unfair; thinking this way adds stress and anxiety to our lives that initiate feelings of being offended. There has never been a bigger weapon from the enemy used against humanity than turning us all into a mush of offended spirits.
Where are you placing your mind? Where is your focus? Here is a challenge for you: next time you receive a visitor, dare to be a bit more vulnerable. Do not strive for home perfection, but to ensure that you give this visit your attention. Do not miss a moment of your life that could result in you blessing someone or them blessing you.
What is keeping you anxious and troubled? If you look at the chapter following the discussion of Martha and Mary, it is the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11). This is not a coincidence. God wants to give us rest, so He teaches us exactly how we should pray.
Focus on the good portion, and do not allow it to be taken from you.