“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset (distracted) about many things, but only one thing is needed.”- Luke 10: 41 (NIV)
In Chapter 5 of The Attentive Life, Leighton Ford discusses Luke’s account of Jesus at the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10: 38-42). The author specifically notes Jesus’ choice of words in describing Martha-“worried and distracted”. The root meaning of worried is “pulled apart”. He notes that worry and distraction “split us down the middle, divide us against ourselves.” Martha’s good intent- cleaning her house and cooking a meal for Jesus- kept her from the best: enjoying the present moment and listening to the words of Jesus.
Mr. Ford believes that Luke’s account is teaching us that we all have “Martha” and “Mary” parts in us, that we’re all called to action as well as contemplation. Mother Teresa explained this beautifully when she commented on the work of her Sisters of Mercy in caring for the dying poor:
“Do not think of us as social workers. We are contemplatives in the midst of life. We pray the work.”
Today’s question: In the wake of your ministry downsizing or position loss, what most keeps you “worried and distracted”? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Attentive waiting”