A question that is often on my mind is: am I distracted or devoted? Am I serving and ministering out of intimacy with Jesus, or has ministry become a distraction to having intimacy with Him? In today’s podcast, we examine one of the stories of Martha and Mary and their interaction with Jesus — which reveals our proper position and how we too are called to sit at the feet of Jesus (a place of intimacy) rather than be distracted by anything else (even good things).
Listen to and Download the Episode
Episode 059 Overview
In this episode …
- we will examine Luke 10:38-42, the story of Jesus at the house of Martha and Mary and the contrast of their two behaviors/positions
- you will discover how the position of intimacy (sitting at Jesus’ feet) is the place we are called to
- you will receive practical thoughts on how to build your life around Jesus and grow in intimacy with Him
- you will be encouraged to remove every distraction, even if it’s good, in order to maintain a focus on Jesus Christ
- you will be reminded that all ministry and service is to flow from our relationship and intimacy with Jesus (we are not called to serve God at the cost of having relationship with Him)
Show Notes / Additional Resources
Luke 10:38-42 – Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
- Welcomed (verse 38) – in Greek it is two words put together: receive + under … has idea of “receive under one’s roof” or to “receive and to come under their position as to serve or be hospitable to them”
- Sat at the feet of Jesus (verse 39) – literally means to “sit against” (the idea of pressing next to)
- In other words, Mary was hanging on every word, didn’t want to miss anything, she was captivated and committed to Jesus
- To be at the feet of a Rabbi (teacher) was a sign of humility and eagerness to learn
- BUT Martha (verse 40) – shows a contrast
- Distracted (verse 40)– to be driven around mentally (distracted) or to be over-occupied (busy) about something – gives idea of being dragged around, be driven in circles, or to draw away
- Distracted with serving – the word “serving” in the Greek is used 34 times in the NT and the majority of times it is translated “ministry” or “ministering”
- Simply this serving and hospitality was Martha’s “ministry” … and it was ministry she became distracted with
- she quit listening and pressing into Jesus so that she might fulfill her ministry of serving Jesus
- the danger for Christians is to think that because we are doing things FOR God that we also having intimacy WITH Him
- verse 39 says that Mary ALSO sat at Jesus’ feet … suggesting that at least one time in her life, Martha sat in the position of listening, pressing in, having intimacy with Jesus
- Martha’s distraction became a distraction to others
- Martha’s ministry (serving) was so important to her that she interrupts Jesus’ teaching (His ministry) so her ministry could take precedence over His
- distracted people distract people
- “tell her to help me” – to help with bearing a load
- Jesus defends Mary (verse 41-42)
- Jesus tells Martha she is anxious and troubled
- Troubled: troubled in mind, disquieted, disturbed, in an uproar
- Anxious: take thought for, troubled with cares, looking out for one’s own interests, stressed to provide for, to worry
- Matthew 6:25-34 (6x the word “anxious/worry” shows up)
Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
- Mary was devoted in seeking Jesus while Martha was anxious and troubled (distracted)
- Jesus tells Martha she is anxious and troubled
- Are you distracted (even with good things)?
- Have you been so busy doing things FOR God that you are missing intimacy WITH Him?
- Are you sitting at the feet of Jesus pressing in with devotion?
- Find time today to sneak away and allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate any area of your life that is “distracted” and not “devoted”
- Press in afresh to reading and studying God’s Word – if we desire greater intimacy with Jesus, we must be in the Word (not for academics but to know the Author)
- Develop the habit of not only spending time with but talking with our Risen Savior all throughout the day and keeping Him as the focus of your every moment of every day
- In short, my longing for you is that you’d be obsessed with Jesus Christ and that your obsession would continue to grow and expand and become more intense day-by-day
Additional Resources to Help You Apply and Go Deeper
Bible Study and Reading
- A list of my articles on studying God’s Word
- Article: 3 Reasons Why Scripture is Important to Your Growth and Maturity in Christ
- Podcast 004: Five Ways to Grow in Your Spiritual Life – Study
- Podcast 009: 10 Reasons to Study the Bible
- Podcast 014: 7 Reading Plans to Help You Read God’s Word
- Podcast 020: 3 Steps to Help you Study the Bible – Part 1 (Observation)
- Podcast 021: 3 Steps to Help you Study the Bible – Part 2 (Interpretation)
- Podcast 022: 3 Steps to Help you Study the Bible – Part 3 (Application)
- Podcast 023: A Practical Example on How to Study the Bible (Acts 1:8)
- Podcast 034: 3 Resources and Tools to Help You Study the Bible
- Podcast 035: 3 Types of Bible Study Resources (and the advantages and disadvantages of each)
Prayer and Practicing God’s Presence
- Article: The Solution to a Dry, Depleted, or Desperate Life
- Article: The Need to Cultivate Daily Intimacy with Jesus
- Podcast 005: Five Ways to Grow in Your Spiritual Life – Prayer
- Podcast 016: Seek God’s Face (a Bravehearted Thot)
- Podcast 052: Five Types of Prayer in the Bible
Having Greater Obsession with Jesus
- Article: Why I Refuse to Live My Life … and think you should join me
- Podcast 030: What is Your Obsession?
- Podcast 048: The Christian Life in One Word: Obsessed
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Join the Conversation
The difficulty with podcasts is that they are one-sided—so each week I ask one question for you to participate in the conversation. Head over to the deeperChristian Facebook page to leave a comment and join in the conversation. This week’s question …
Question: What is one way you are cultivating devotion and intimacy with Jesus in your life? Leave a response or ask a question and we will try to address it in a future episode.
About NRJohnson & the deeperChristian Podcast
NRJohnson (Nathan Johnson) is a Christian who has an overwhelming passion for Jesus, the Gospel, and Studying God’s Word. He is a writer, teacher, and communicator who helps other believers understand and apply the Bible as they grow and mature in their faith—desiring that they gain greater intimacy with Christ, experience the victorious Christian life, and transform the world through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Read more about him here.
The Deeper Christian Podcast is the podcast to help you study God’s Word, know Jesus intimately, and discover how you can build your life around Jesus Christ. This weekly audio program, hosted by NRJohnson, dives into Scripture and encourages Christians to keep their focus upon Jesus Christ—equipping believers in how to study the Bible and know God’s Word, grow in their spiritual lives, and change the world. Main discussion topics center around practical advice on Christian living, Bible study, prayer, the Gospel, freedom from sin, evangelism and how to share your faith, the Christian disciplines, and the lives and messages from the Christian heroes from yesteryear such as A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon, Major Ian Thomas, Oswald Chambers, Hudson Taylor, Amy Carmichael, Corrie Ten Boom, C.T. Studd, George Müller, Andrew Murray, Leonard Ravenhill, E.M. Bounds, and others. Learn more about the deeper Christian life.