A reflection on the scripture lesson for Sunday July 21st, 2019
Scripture this week: Luke 10:38-42
Scripture for next week: Luke 11:1-13
An itinerant pastor named Yeshua comes to your town. Perhaps he was welcomed to your church and you met him Sunday. He is traveling across the country heading towards Washington D.C., preaching all along the way. You meet him at church and sensed something powerful within him. It’s his eyes…Those eyes that miss nothing, they seem to read your very soul. Yet it is more than his eyes. It is this intangible something you can’t quite put your finger on. You have a deep desire to know more about this man. You invite him to your home for lunch.
Yeshua is traveling with twelve other men and women in a beat-up old church van that was given to them somewhere along the way. The van pulls up into your driveway, and you watch as the thirteen people pile out of the van, and into your driveway. Thirteen people! Whoa! You were not counting on this many people! Do you have enough food? Yes, but you are going to have to scramble. Fortunately, your sister is already at your house, and you tell her to greet the guests, and help them get comfortable. You run into the kitchen and start pulling ingredients out of the pantry. You are so busy that it takes a few minutes to notice that your sister has not come into the kitchen to help. When you told her to make the guests comfortable, you assumed she would come get beverages for them and then help you craft the scrumptious meal with which you hope to impress Yeshua. You go into the living room and see your sister sitting on the floor next to Yeshua listening to him entertain the group with stories. Your anger flares. Before you really even think, you blurt out, “Yeshua, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me!” Yeshua smiles at you with those penetrating eyes. “_________, _________, You are worried and distracted by many things. Your sister has chosen the better part which will not be taken away from her.”
Check out the definition for the Greek word we translate as distracted:
- To be pulled away from a reference point, be pulled/ dragged away
- To have one’s attention directed from one thing to another, become or be distracted, quite busy, overburdened.
Jesus challenges us. “You have allowed yourself to be pulled away from your reference point. You have become distracted and are not focusing on the one thing that matters.”
Let’s face it. We are all Martha. We all allow ourselves to be pulled away from our reference point.
In his book Honest to God, John Robinson notes, “Through him, as through no one else, God spoke and God acted: when one met him one was met – and saved and judged – by God. And it was to this conviction that the Apostles bore their witness. In this man, in his life, death and resurrection they had experienced God at work; and in the language of their day they confessed, like the centurion at the Cross, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God’. Robinson, John A. T.. Honest to God (SCM Classics) (Kindle Locations 1084-1087).
Jesus is with us in this very moment. He is our reference point, meeting, guiding, judging, and saving us every moment of our lives – if we keep ourselves focused on him.
How do we do that? We practice. We learn how to respond to situations instead of reacting. Instead of marching up to someone who irritates us, and letting them have it, we pause, reflect, and remember that Jesus loves that person just as much as Jesus love us. In that moment we ask, “How would Jesus respond?”
In Martha’s case, she was irritated because she had the perspective that she was missing out on the stories perhaps. She was clearly irritated because she was doing all of the work. She could have responded instead of reacting. She could have done what Jesus suggested subtly in his response to her. She could have kept her focus on him, her reference point. She could have realized that she had the honor of lovingly crafting a simple lunch for the incarnation of God. She could have realized that her sister was also offering a gift, and not just being lazy. Mary was making sure that Jesus was comfortable in their home by visiting with him while lunch was being prepared.
Our reference point is always meeting us, offering us saving perspective, judging our reactions, and freeing us from our self-centeredness. May we all learn to keep our focus on the one who really matters.
 William Arndt et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 804.