Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
(Romans 12:12, ESV)
Often when I sit down to write, my mind is swirling with so many “to do’s” that I find it hard to maintain my focus. I have a general idea of the topic I want to write about, but I can’t get a handle on the central message I want to convey. Or I may think I’m writing about one thing, but wind up going down so many rabbit trails that pretty soon I’m totally lost. In either case, I find it hard to focus on what’s important.
On these occasions, the story of Mary and Martha comes to mind (Luke 10:38-42). Martha had invited Jesus into their home, but she had no time to focus on His message because she was too distracted by all the work that needed to be done. She soon becomes angry that she’s been left alone to prepare their meal. Was it right that Mary should be so entranced by Jesus’s every word that she left Martha all alone to slave away in the kitchen? Was it fair that the Lord didn’t seem at all concerned that Martha’s sister had deserted her when she most needed her help with serving?
This perceived injustice so emboldened Martha that she confronted Jesus and accused Him of not caring enough about her or her dilemma. She even went so far as to demand that He order Mary to help her. But which sister’s actions truly showed the greatest care and concern for their Master?
Who do you identify with most, Martha or Mary? Like Martha, have you often felt that life isn’t treating you fairly? Do you, too, become so distracted by all the busyness that you fail to pay attention to the One who should be your primary focus in life?
Too often, we tend to base our worth on how busy we are and on how much we are needed. We brag to our friends, family members, and anyone else who will listen about how much we need to do and how little time we have to do it. We’re more frenzied than focused. We’re like Martha. Our priorities are out of order. Jesus tells her:
Martha, Martha, you are worried about so 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 10:41-42, NIV)
As Christian writers, we need to stop and ask ourselves if we’ve become so busy trying to serve God through our writing that we fail to hear His voice? Are we so focused on the busyness of our work that we forget to pray for His guidance? Are we so lost in the weeds of our words, that we lose sight of our primary message and purpose?
Jesus explained to Martha that “Mary has chosen what is better.” Martha’s main focus was on their material needs while Mary’s primary focus was on their spiritual needs. In Matthew 4:4, Jesus said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Jesus declares in John 6:63: “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.”
Like Mary, we must choose the best. The Lord should be our number one priority. Pray for His guidance so you don’t wander down rabbit trails that lead nowhere: “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you the path to take” (Proverbs 3:6, NLT). If we maintain our focus on Jesus and His words, we will succeed: “Share your plans with the LORD, and you will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3, CEV).