Are we Busy or Distracted?

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Diego Rodriguez DaSilva y Velázquez

 

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 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.” 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.”” Luke 10: 38-42

Wait. Read that passage again. Two more times, maybe?

I have been mediating on this passage and it came to my attention that Martha’s problem was not necessarily being busy, it was something else.

Martha was busy at her home, and she understood that hospitality is a big word that implies big work. She got that part and that is good. But keep reading. Her problem was not that she was busy doing what needed to be done, hers was a heart problem that is seen as follows:

1. Martha was distracted by much serving. Much serving was not the problem, having a house full of guests, or littles at home to feed or grown-ups to listen to, or having to make extra soup for a friend in need, or classes and papers to grade, and doctors’ appointments to make, and laundry and exams, and a husband to embrace and a friend in need to listen to are not the real problem. The problem is how that busyness, how that much serving can distract our hearts and draw our attention to something else that will destroy our relationship with God and others.

Jeremiah Burroughs in his book, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, says that Christian contentment is “opposed to an unsettled and unstable spirit, whereby the heart is distracted from the present duty that God requires in our several relationships towards God, ourselves and others.

This is exactly what I see in the passage. Martha’s heart got distracted and her heart became unsettled and unstable. Instead of looking at Jesus, the object of her service, she looked at herself and in turn, her eyes veered to her sister in comparison.

2.  Notice that after Martha’s heart is distracted, she turns to Jesus, but not to listen to Him. He looks to Him in order to complain. How could He have missed the fact that she was doing more than Mary? How could He not see her diligent service and her sister’s poor attitude towards their duties?

Jesus’ answer goes directly to the heart of the matter. He does not address the “how-much-I-am-doing vs. the-how-much-she-is-not-doing” argument (that we moms have heard from our children too often, just like our Heavenly Father has heard from his children more than often!). Martha’s problem was anxiousness, a troubled heart -not busy hands, and also the fact that she started comparing herself with her own sister. She wanted Jesus to make her an example before Mary. Martha clearly had not learned contentment in the midst of a busy day.

Again we read Jeremiah Burroughs’ wise words: “[Christan contentment] is opposed to murmuring and repining at the hand of God…” and “Christian contentment is that sweet, inward, quiet, gracious, frame of spirit, which freely submits to and delights in God’s wise and fatherly disposal in every condition.”

How challenging and fitting it is for us to read this passage. Many of us are in a season in which our lives are full, trying to do less is what we dream of, but in reality we just can’t.  But we can do one important thing: check the attitude of our heart in the midst of all those busy moments. In doing so, we will be choosing “the good portion” that Jesus wants us to choose.

So let’s check our own heart: Am I continually and quietly murmuring and complaining -even in prayer? Is it my tendency to be distracted in my heart only to find myself comparing my days with those of my neighbor? Can I see my present condition and my hands full, and praise God and see Him and listen to Him as I come and go? Or am I using this busy season in my life only as an excuse to not come to Jesus to worship Him?

“A Christian knows that he should not be diverted by small matters, but should answer every distraction, and resist every temptation.” Jeremiah Burroughs.

Grace upon grace,

Becky

>When the Sound of the Bagpipes Made Me Cry

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This story started six months ago, when our son started to learn how to play the chanter (the instrument you first need to learn how to play before start playing the bagpipes). He was very diligent, every day we would hear him making music, and we’d smile. He has making such a big progress. So one day, dad bought him the real thing: professional bagpipes. His instrument traveled many, many miles. It made it home, however,  a piece was broken, so our son had to wait few more weeks until the replacement came.

He still spent many hours behind the chanter. He really wanted to be ready to play among his friends at the End of the Year Gathering in PA.

The bagpipes were ready only a week before our trip. Four hours a day seemed not to be enough to practice, but we were all surprised. It sounded beautiful! The night before our trip, he calls me, and plays for me, I smiled and breathed thanks. He felt he was ready, he would definitely bring his pipes to the trip. His dream was about to come true.

To our surprise, on the first checkpoint at the airport in Mexico, they wouldn’t let him bring his pipes on board, and we did not have enough time to check them in; so we just handed them to our friends who (thank God!) were still waving us good-bye from the other side of the checkpoint.

I cried and my son hugged me. We just couldn’t believe it… all those hours, all those dreams. For a moment I almost forgot that I am living in the Sacred.

My Beloved held my hand, and said to me “This is God dealing with our son. He has a plan.”

We made it to the EOTYG safely, we even tried to forget about it. We were with our beloved friends, and we had so many reasons to be happy and grateful.

Until one evening, in the lobby of our hotel, we had the privilege to meet a wonderful family, whose son also played the bagpipes and had brought them with him.  We smiled, and of course, shared our story with them.

Few days later, on the open mic night, all of a sudden, with out expecting it, our son had some bagpipes in hand and started to play. I turned around and looked into the eyes of the mom whose son had brought bagpipes. We were both crying, while our sons were smiling.

This was God dealing with my son’s heart. He had a plan, a lesson to teach him and I was just an spectator.

Moments like this, help us see that at the end it is God who deals personally with each one of our children. At the end of the day, it will be Him and each one of our children alone. We watch as spectators, and give thanks.

It is in moments like this that we are reminded that God is sovereign over all things.  That we are living under His sun and by His grace.

Becky

>We All Are Clay Vases

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Katie Lloyd Photography*





The church building’s doors were wide opened, and as we got in,  people came to us and gave us a warm welcome. Some faces we only get to see once a year, so we hugged hard;  some other faces were new, and touched our lives profoundly.


My little one held my hand hard and her eyes were all filled with tears as she saw in the row in front of us a beautiful family,  a family that taught me more than all the words that were spoken from the pulpit. Six biological children and one little adopted girl (from about 2 years old to 10); only one of the children had both arms; most had none. 


Seeing them broke my heart to pieces. You know how I have been reading about suffering, affliction, trials; how I have been memorizing the Word and mediating on James’ and Paul’s words to the church (in the epistle to the Philippians) concerning affliction. But suddenly, I had a living epistle in front of me.  A father kneeling low to hug his son and whisper with him the Catechism; a little boy holding the  hymn book with his only minuscule arm for his sister who had no arms. Mom was holding her precious Chinese girl (of about 2 years old) as she praised God, and kissed her lips. Smiles were exchanged between all the family members at all times. It was clear that even though they could not hug each other, they had learned to love with their eyes, in a deep and beautiful way. After the Lord’s Supper, mom and dad sat together, he whispered something to his wife’s ear and they smiled with their eyes closed and tenderly he embraced her.


As the church service was dismissed, they turned to us and gave us a warm welcome. What a beautiful smile this young mom had, and it surprised me that after crossing a few words she said she was sorry that they had to leave to some other state in the middle of the week, because they would have loved to host us for dinner! 


We all are clay vases, all different, all made with different purposes. Some are strong, some are weak, some are fragile, and some others, some that may seem to be broken and the world might despise are full of fresh water. These vases are chosen by God to teach us a lesson. I pray I  will not miss learning it.


Today I am grateful for the Maker of vases that can hold His grace. 




Becky 






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*Thanks to Katie Lloyd for granting me permission to use her image. 
You can always buy her prints here.

>Learning Contentment, Day by Day -part five-

>My thoughts and notes on the book, The Art of Divine Contentment by the Puritan author, Thomas Watson.

Thank you for joining me on this journey…

The book is over, my life goes on.

I pray that God will find me always content.

Never wanting more…
Always longing for Him.
Never complaining…
Always satisfied in Him.

Other Posts in this series:

The School of Contentment -part one-
Learning Contentment -part two-
Divine Contentment -part three-
Contentment, Be Welcome -part four-

>Contentment…Be Welcome -part four-

>I am enjoying reading and doing some notes in my red art  book…

The book which I have been studying is “The Art of Divine Contentment”, by Thomas Watson.

Chapters  12 and 13

God willing, I will be here tomorrow, to share His goodness, His teaching…

Other posts in this series:

The School of Contentment -part one-
Learning Contentment -part two-
Divine Contentment -part three-

>Divine Contentment -part three-

>These are my notes on the book I am reading….”The Art of Divine Contentment” by Thomas Watson.
Chapter 11

Contentment must be learned, practiced, it does not come softly, but its rewards are beyond this world.

My heart has been challenged by the words of this Puritan author; letters, words, sentences, all encompassing, all falling like rain, watering my soul.

May god grant us grace to live for tomorrow…

Abiding in Him,

Posts in this series:

The School of Contentment -Part One-
Learning Contentment -Part Two-
Contentment, Be Welcome -Part Four-