choresOver and over again, Jesus teaches us to not allow the details of life to distract us from God.

He says, “Don’t worry about what you wear or eat or your lifespan.  Seek first the Kingdom” (Mt. 6).

He directs the 12 disciples to go on a journey to proclaim the Kingdom without food, defense, money, or extra clothing.  The disciples are simply to obey and not allow the necessary details of living hold them back (Lk. 9).

In contrast to the many details involved with being a good hostess that were consuming Martha, He says that Mary has chosen the one necessary thing, the good part.  Mary has chosen to be with Jesus.  Her focus is wrapped up in her relationship with God Himself (Lk. 10).

And we know this.  We hear these admonishments time and time again.  Why is it  so hard to actually live a life devoid of distraction?

I believe one of the biggest reasons is because the details of life aren’t details to us.  How can God say that what I’m going to wear or eat is simply a detail?  These “details” are concrete…I can see them, feel them, and I know when I do and do not have them.  And I need these “details.”

The same is not as easily said about our relationship with God.  Our spiritual health is more ethereal and hard to really nail down.  If we completely ignore it for a couple of days, we don’t feel the same consequences as if we went without clothes or food.

But Jesus says that nothing is more important.  Nothing is more necessary or better than allowing the many things that make up life remain as details in contrast to our relationship with the Creator of the universe.

How do we live that way?

I believe the resolution lies with our focus, our heart.  By letting go of the details of life Jesus does not mean to avoid them.  He’s not saying to stop buying groceries or clothes or being responsible.  Remember, Jesus is most concerned about our hearts, because from our hearts flow our actions.  Flow our “details.”

Jesus is teaching us to not allow the details of life, especially when they don’t feel like details, to distract us from our God and our relationship with Him.  Don’t be consumed by your future plans, or financial concerns, or daily housework, or schoolwork, or career, or family, or…  Once these things consume us, they have become our gods, mere idols.

So, for Martha, she allowed the work of hosting Jesus and His disciples consume her and distract her from spiritual reality.  She allowed resentment to build up against her sister Mary rather than recognizing how powerful her service was in not only allowing her sister to grow nearer to God, but also in serving God Himself!! 

What Martha was doing was not wrong.  It was how she was doing it.  It was her heart.

For me, I find the challenge is in not allowing the mundane, boring, little daily routines distract me from God.  Rather, I need to make my routine a spiritual discipline of sorts.  A discipline that brings me nearer to God by recognizing each activity as spiritually significant.  To do my Martha work and to choose the “good part” at the same time.  Each day.  Little bit by little bit.

Jesus reminds us that where we are and what we do MATTERS.  Right now.  Here today.  And it is all about our hearts. 

Defend your heart from distractions as you go about the details of life.

This is the work of a disciple of Jesus.