Just One Thing

Friday, October 24, 2014 – Proper 24, Year Two

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 31 (morning) // 35 (evening)

Ecclesiasticus 11:2-20

Revelation 9:13-21

Luke 10:38-42

It’s hard to imagine a gospel story more perfectly crafted for one of today’s most widespread ailments: distraction. In today’s gospel, a woman named Martha graciously welcomes Jesus into her home. However, she is “distracted by her many tasks,” and Jesus scolds her for being “worried and distracted by many things.” Martha’s multi-tasking and her many distractions prevent her from having a relationship with Jesus.

But Jesus constantly invites us to radically simplify our lives. While Martha has many things to do, Jesus tells her, “there is need of only one thing,” which her sister Mary has chosen. Martha’s sister Mary doesn’t keep herself busy when Jesus comes to their home. Instead, she sits at Jesus’ feet and listens to him.

Almost every day, I read or hear about some new study that describes the destructive or even deadly consequences of being distracted. I, for one, know that my “many tasks” often threaten to compromise the quality of my relationships with my children, my husband, my friends, and my Lord.

What type of busy work is distracting you from what is most important? What keeps you from giving others the attention and companionship that they desire? What petty details distract you from the goals that need your focus?

Perhaps a better question is, what one thing do you need? Jesus says, “Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.” Whatever that “one thing” is, it can never be stolen or lost. So today, let’s examine how Jesus calls us from the world of many tasks and distractions that make our days fly by, and into the kingdom of deep attentiveness that time can never steal from us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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