It’s so easy to lose our focus on Jesus in the middle of a busy day. (And the beginning and end, too.) Learning to recognize the warning signs can help us get back on track. Here are 5 from Jesus’s interaction with Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42.
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.”41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
5 Signs You’ve Lost Sight Of Jesus
1. We’re doing too much of a good thing.
Martha was ‘distracted with much serving’. It’s not like Jesus caught her cheating on her taxes or starting a meth lab in her basement. Her desire to welcome Jesus was good, but at some point her preparations for his visit crossed the line and took her focus – ironically – off of Jesus. For many of us, our work, school, training or a desire to get married can lead us down the same road.
2. We feel that Jesus doesn’t care about our challenges and frustrations.
Martha let Jesus have it: ‘do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?’ He was there, but she felt like Jesus was oblivious to the fact that she was doing all the work. I can identify. We’ve raised support for our ministry for 15 years now, and (nearly) every time our account gets low, I start to think God is on vacation. Where do you see this show up in your life?
3. We feel all alone.
Martha felt like she had to shoulder all the work by herself. When we find ourselves thinking that it’s all up to us, it’s a sign that we’ve taken our eyes off of Jesus. Even if no one else is willing to help, God has promised that ‘he will not leave [us] or forsake [us]’. (Deuteronomy 31:6).
4. We feel overwhelmed.
Martha’s question (demand) to Jesus implies that she felt like there was just way too much for her to handle. Her flurry of activity wasn’t enough to get it all done. Like Martha, in many cases we’ve taken on things that God isn’t asking us to do. It is often too much and we need wisdom to know what we need to let go. Author Bob Goff famously quits something every Thursday to make room for more important things in his life. While we may not need to go to that extreme, the idea of building in re-evaluation to make the very best use of the time God has given (see Ephesians 5:16) is a great one.
5. We tell God how it’s gotta be.
Based on this little incident, you get the feeling that Martha was kind of like Peter. Impulsive and not afraid to speak her mind. ‘Tell her then to help me!’ She assumed she was right (‘Mary should be helping!’) and ordered Jesus to call her sister out. Ah, if only Jesus would see things our way and get on board. Some time ago, I had significant hip pain and it only took me a few hours to get really grouchy. And demand that things get better with minimal effort on my part. When we find ourselves declaring that something must go such and such a way, we know we’ve lost sight of the Lord.
My work as a pastor focuses on healthcare students and professionals. They’re trained to look for the symptoms of various diseases so that they can treat their patients effectively.
That’s exactly how God’s Word works in our lives on a spiritual level. ‘For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart’. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
As we learn to see the symptoms of our sickness, we learn to refocus on the Lord. ‘God, there I go again stressing out about all that I have to do. I’m not even sure what I’m doing wrong, but I know I’m taking on too much. Forgive me and show me your agenda for me today’. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, but little conversations with God like this really add up, transforming us in the process.
Let’s live it out: Spend a few minutes reflecting on the signs that we’ve lost sight of the Lord.
- How do you see this most clearly in your life?
- What would it look like to turn toward Jesus in these situations?
Share it with us in the comments just below!
For further reading, check out my follow-up post, also based on Luke 10:38-42, on how we can place our focus back on Jesus.
It’s also worth checking out Alan & Gem Fadling’s excellent site, Unhurried Living, where they help us overcome the chronic hurry of our everyday lives and stay centered on Jesus.