As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42).

If most of you are anything like me, I’m sure that you’ve read these verses of Scripture on some occasion and made a silent petition for the Lord to forgive the Martha in you, and make you more like Mary in your devotion to Him. However, much like Martha, the problem usually isn’t our devotion itself, but it’s our devotion to the wrong things.

Can you recount some area of your ministry in the church where God has called you to serve or something that you know He has purposed you to do, and you start out with this wholehearted devotion to Him that slowly but surely became a going-through-the-motions-type routine, with you showing no genuine dedication to His work, and no longer having any real expectations of Him? It is so easy to get caught up in the preparation of unnecessary or even necessary tasks that we end up missing out opportunities to spend intimate moments with the Master altogether. Therefore, in our service to God it is vital that we do not allow ourselves to get distracted by our devotion to the tasks God has called us to complete.

God often chooses to use such tasks for the purpose of drawing us closer to Him. No matter what God calls us to do, or how much He calls us to do, our works will never make us righteous (Philippians 3:9). During this process of spiritual growth our focus should stay on Him. We are to be ever decreasing (John 3:30), yielding to the Master’s complete control, so that through our labor others may be drawn to Christ and not to ourselves (John 12:32).

“Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). It is imperative that we not allow anything other than our desire for God Himself to hold our absolute attention. Anything else is a distraction.