Pulled In Two Directions

Luke 10:38-40, “Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted…”

I wonder if anyone ever asked the rope what it thought about tug-of-war? Seriously. I know it sounds a little crazy but think about it. The rope is just minding its own business, laying around in the tool shed waiting for something that needs to be tied down. Next thing it knows someone has grabbed it and turned it into a piece of atheletic equipment. Poor rope. Caught in the middle of two opposing forces. Feeling the unbelievable strain of being pulled in two different directions. Defenseless to do anything about its predicament. Desperately hoping that the contest will end sooner rather than later. A little to the right. A little to the left. Back and forth. Forth and back. With each passing moment the pressure only grows. Every fiber of its being stretching until it reaches the very breaking point. All because of a little game of tug-of-war.

Ask Martha about the rope and she would tell you without hesitation, “I understand. Believe me, I understand. I feel its pain.” See, here’s the thing. Martha was involved in a game of tug-of-war. The only problem was that she was the rope. Martha was caught in the middle, pulled in two entirely different directions at the same time. How do I know? Because of that one word there in verse 40…distracted. The Bible tells us that Martha was distracted. In Biblical language the word literally means to be drawn in two different ways at the same time, i.e. the rope in tug-of-war. Martha finds herself being pulled upon by two distinct forces. One pulling in one direction. The other drawing her in the entirely opposite direction.

Martha had started out so well. As we considered in an earlier note, she had welcomed Jesus into her house. She had gone out of her way to make God feel comfortable. She had found Him walking through the city streets, invited him to her house and promised to make Him feel like the honored guest that she knew He was. The only problem is that now she has allowed herself to become distracted. One moment she is longing to be in the room with Jesus. But the very next moment finds her drawn to the kitchen. Back and forth she goes in her heart and mind. Longing to be with Jesus but feeling the demand of duty and responsibility. And so she becomes the rope. Caught in the middle. Feeling the strain. About to snap. First one direction and then the opposite. Moving towards God. But then moving away.

It would be so easy to point the finger at Martha. Especially when you consider her sister, Mary. Mary is seated. Martha is running back and forth. Mary is listening to words of life. Martha is barely catching every other sentence. Mary is at peace. Martha is falling to pieces. Mary will be commended. Martha is about to be corrected. Mary was focused. Martha was distracted. Yes, it would be easy to find fault with Martha. Easy, except for one thing. If I point the finger at Martha, then I better point the finger at myself as well. See, just like Martha I find myself easily distracted at times. I too understand what it feels like to be the rope. One minute I am moving towards God with my whole heart. The next minute finds me moving away. For seasons I am so focused on Him. But then there are periods of time where other things have taken the place of importance. And Jesus becomes lost in the background of distractions.

My prayer today is simple. “Lord, forgive me for allowing myself to become distracted by things that cannot compare to You. I cannot follow two different directions at the same time. I cannot commit to opposite pursuits. Unify my heart and my interests. May You be my sole desire. May all my distractions become lost in the background of You, Jesus. Amen.