“one thing is necessary” Jesus
“Keep the main thing the main thing” Steven Covey
So yesterday I took a wrong turn. It wasn’t that the road was unfamiliar or that I didn’t know where I was going, I just got distracted by what was happening out of the side window. Ask any Police officer about the dangers of distracted driving. Fortunately nothing worse happened than spending a few extra minutes driving down a wrong road. Distraction is a real danger not only in driving but in living, ministry and leading. When I become preoccupied with side things, the side things can quickly become main thing, or at least something that distracts me from the main thing.
In our last blog, we heard the Apostle Paul say that one way to guard against the push of side things, of my shadow mission, is to open my heart and my motives to God and to other trusted people in my life. A second important guard rail to keep me out of the ditch of shadow mission is to “keep the main thing the main thing”. Jesus made that clear to Martha one evening. Martha was distracted by all the work that needed to be done, even possibly by the need to be seen as a good hostess (shadow mission alert!). It wasn’t that what she was doing was unimportant, hospitality is a God given gift, it is a powerful way to show our love for Jesus and for others. But it, like any other gift, can become a shadow mission. It can become about what we’re doing rather than who we are doing it for. So Jesus simply tells Martha, “keep the main thing the main thing”, or in Jesus words: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:38). Jesus was not saying to her that hospitality is unnecessary or unimportant, he was saying that it was not the main thing. I believe he was saying that her relationship with him was the main thing. And there’s a shadow mission guard rail: ” being with” always comes before “doing for”! In order to keep from getting distracted and becoming vulnerable to my shadow mission, always keep my relationship with Jesus the first thing at the top of every list, the first thought at the beginning of every day, and the primary focus in every task. Then my hospitality, my teaching, my any other gift or ministry will be for him and about him, not for and about me.