During a church service I spotted an infant several rows ahead. As the baby peeked over his father’s shoulder, his eyes were wide with wonder as he looked at the members of the congregation. He grinned at some people, drooled, and chewed his chunky fingers, but never quite found his thumb. The pastor’s words grew distant as my eyes kept sliding back to that sweet baby.
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. For Martha, distraction took the form of cooking and cleaning—trying to serve Christ instead of listening to Him and talking with Him. Mary refused to be sidetracked. “Mary . . . sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39). When Martha grumbled because Mary wasn’t helping her, Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (v. 42 niv).
Jesus’ words remind us that our relationship with Him is more important than any of the good things that might temporarily capture our attention. It has been said that good things are the enemies of great things. For followers of Jesus, the greatest thing in this life is to know Him and to walk with Him.
What do you think Martha’s distractions were? Was she wanting to be seen as a good host? Or was she jealous of her sister? What attitudes cause you not to make Jesus your top priority? By Jennifer Benson Schuldt
Teach me, Lord, to get to know You, for that’s when I’ll learn to love You more than anything.
The “certain village” mentioned in Luke 10:38 is Bethany, a small village on the eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1), about 2 miles from Jerusalem (John 11:18). It was home to three siblings, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus (Luke 10:38; John 11), and Jesus probably stayed at their home when He was in Jerusalem (Matt. 21:17; 26:6; Mark 11:11; 14:3; John 11:1; 12:1). Bethany was where Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11) and where Simon the leper held a feast to honor Jesus (Mark 14:3). It is also where Mary anointed Jesus with an expensive perfume to prepare Him for His death (vv. 3-8). Jesus’ ascension, it is believed, also took place in Bethany (Luke 24:50-52).
The Greatest Source of Power
Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do… —John 14:13
Am I fulfilling this ministry of intercession deep within the hidden recesses of my life? There is no trap nor any danger at all of being deceived or of showing pride in true intercession. It is a hidden ministry that brings forth fruit through which the Father is glorified. Am I allowing my spiritual life to waste away, or am I focused, bringing everything to one central point— the atonement of my Lord? Is Jesus Christ more and more dominating every interest of my life? If the central point, or the most powerful influence, of my life is the atonement of the Lord, then every aspect of my life will bear fruit for Him.
However, I must take the time to realize what this central point of power is. Am I willing to give one minute out of every hour to concentrate on it? “If you abide in Me…”— that is, if you continue to act, and think, and work from that central point— “you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Am I abiding? Am I taking the time to abide? What is the greatest source of power in my life? Is it my work, service, and sacrifice for others, or is it my striving to work for God? It should be none of these— what ought to exert the greatest power in my life is the atonement of the Lord. It is not on what we spend the greatest amount of time that molds us the most, but whatever exerts the most power over us. We must make a determination to limit and concentrate our desires and interests on the atonement by the Cross of Christ.
“Whatever you ask in My name, that I will do….” The disciple who abides in Jesus is the will of God, and what appears to be his free choices are actually God’s foreordained decrees. Is this mysterious? Does it appear to contradict sound logic or seem totally absurd? Yes, but what a glorious truth it is to a saint of God.
by Oswald Chambers