In Matthew 13, Jesus talks about four types of soil where seed is sown. Some of the seeds fall on the wayside (hard, packed soil) and Satan comes to devour them (verses 4,19). Some seeds fall on stony ground. They get scorched and wither under the fire of tribulation because they have no roots (verses 5-6, 21). Some fall on thorny soil and are choked by the cares of this world (verses 7,22). And lastly, some fall on good ground, receptive to the seed. The good ground represents someone who hears the Word of God, understands it, and yields a crop, some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred times what was sown (verses 8, 23).
What is surprising in this parable is that three out of four times, the Word did nothing, because one way or another, Satan stole it. It’s obvious from this parable that whenever God’s Word is sown into our hearts, Satan goes to work to steal it. And I believe one of the major ways he steals the Word from us today is through distraction.
Isaiah 26:3, NKJV says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You…”. Peace depends on our ability to keep our mind focused, focused on Jesus. Lack of peace is the result of a wandering mind.
This principle is demonstrated when Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha. “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’s feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving…And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things…Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.’” (Luke 10:38-42 NKJV).
When Jesus came to visit Mary and Martha, what a wonderful time it must have been. Jesus wasn’t preaching to the crowds. He was meeting with a select group of people, teaching them God’s Word. Initially, according to verse 39, both Mary and Martha were sitting at Jesus’ feet. But the passage goes on to say, “Martha was distracted” (verse 40).
What was Martha distracted about? I’m sure she was thinking about what she was going to feed all the guests in her house, all the work it was going to be, and that she better get moving to prepare and serve it. And this line of thinking drew her away. Her thinking pulled her away from Jesus, and pretty soon she was running around. Weust translates verse 40 this way: “But Martha was going around in circles, overoccupied…”. Does this sound like you and me sometimes?
Jesus addressed the issue and said to Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (verse 41). Martha had lost her peace. It left the minute she took her mind off the Word. Then Jesus added something important. He said, “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her” (verse 42). Jesus spoke the Word. Satan came to steal it. Martha allowed him to steal it by becoming distracted. Mary, on the other hand, chose differently. She chose the “good part” – to keep her mind on God’s Word. Jesus Himself guaranteed that God’s Word in Mary’s heart would take root and produce fruit.
If we want the “good part”, we need to be determined to value God’s Word, honour His Word, and not let ourselves be distracted from the Word.
Let’s not be too hard on Martha. Her motivation for getting up was to serve Jesus. But ministry is not a good substitute for intimacy with the Lord. There were two meals being served that day. One was the Word of God. The other was the one Martha was serving. What should Martha have done? Remembered Who she was listening to – the One Who fed five thousand people with five fish and two loaves. Feeding a group of people was no problem for Jesus.
Today, as believers in Jesus, let us make the quality decision to keep our minds on God’s Word and to be like the 25% who receive, and not like the 75% who let it be stolen. If we keep our minds focused on God’s Word, we will find ourselves in perfect peace, no matter what the situation.
In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.