The Main Thing Wk 1 // Distractions
- How many hours a week do you spend working? How often are you distracted by work when you really should be spending time with family or friends?
- What are some other things that you believe are distractions in your life?
- What are some other major distractions of our culture?
We live in an incredibly busy world—it seems like there are countless events, people, and pressures competing for our attention and time. By reading Luke 10 and looking at the example of Mary and Martha, we will see that sometimes our attention to our many tasks, including ways we serve the body of Christ, can distract us from listening to the teaching of Jesus.
Spend a few minutes recapping Pastor Mike's sermon together. Click here to view the sermon notes.
- What was one takeaway from this week's sermon for you?
- Were there any stories, ideas, or points that stuck out?
- Was there anything that challenged you?
Have a volunteer read Luke 10:38-39.
- What are some positive things we can glean about Martha from these two verses? Why do you think she welcomed Jesus into her home?
- Do you think the “also” in verse 39 implies that Martha also sat at Jesus’ feet? Do you think she was trying to listen but couldn’t because of “her many tasks”?
Martha had good intentions. Jesus once told His followers, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). If Martha had not been kind enough to open her home to Jesus, He would have had to sleep outside. Jesus counted on the kindness of people like Martha in order to have a place to rest.
- Can you name a time in your life when you began to do something for the right reasons, but soon got overwhelmed? How quickly did you lose your joy?
- How often do we grow to dislike a good thing because of the work it takes to do it?
We often begin this way with church tasks. We know the nursery needs help, so we volunteer. We know they need a teacher in the children’s department, or the church needs a volunteer for a hospitality ministry. We volunteer because we see a good work that needs doing, but sometimes we find ourselves overwhelmed with the work. If we aren’t careful, this can lead us to have a bitter attitude.
Have a volunteer read Luke 10:40.
- What sort of attitude do you have when you are too busy? Is it possible to be so involved in the service of the church and the service of others that you cease to be helpful?
- Why do you think Martha asked Jesus if He cared? Who is Martha upset with, Jesus or Mary? Why didn’t Martha ask Mary to help directly?
- How can volunteering to do a good thing, like being hospitable to Jesus, cause us to sin? How hard is it to tell when we are over-worked or just over-worried?
Martha’s busyness led her to aggravation. First, she spoke harshly to her own guest. A guest she invited herself: “Lord, don’t You care…?” Second, she became angry with her sister, even referring to Mary as if she wasn’t in the room. Resentment can easily cause us to ruin our relationships with others.
For example, let’s imagine that someone volunteers for the nursery because he/she wants to help and loves children. But he/she winds up on the schedule a lot because volunteers are short. This volunteer notices that certain church members never volunteer for the nursery. Have you ever experienced something like that developing into a grudge? Describe what happened and how you handled your feelings (for good or for bad).
Have a volunteer read Luke 10:41-42.
- What was “the right choice” that Mary made? Why did Jesus defend Mary?
- What were the “many things” Martha might have been “worried and upset about”? How could she have handled the situation better? What was Martha’s error?
Martha was probably distracted by several important things. She probably worried about Jesus and the disciples receiving a warm welcome with good food and something to drink. She might have been worried about everyone having a clean place to sit. She could have been distracted by so many people being in her house. Whatever the case, Martha’s worries distracted her from listening to Jesus.
There are times when we have to leave service and simply listen to the teaching of Jesus. We will not be fit to serve in any ministry if that ministry takes us away from the Word of God consistently. Like Martha, we will begin to resent that others aren’t working as hard as we are. We might even think that we can get Jesus to “rebuke others” for not being as good at volunteering as we are. It is a terrible thing to host a party but miss out on the happiness of your own guests. Sometimes, the food can wait. Sometimes, people may have to simply take care of themselves. Sometimes, we need to just sit and listen to the teachings of God’s Word.
- How can we be careful not to over-work or over-worry ourselves in our lives or even in the service of the church?
- How can we guard ourselves against judging how much work others are doing? How can we keep “volunteering” from feeling like “unavoidable obligation”?
- Have you been sitting and listening to Jesus by the preaching of God’s Word? Is it time for you to make “Mary’s choice,” and sit and listen?
Offer a time for group members to pray aloud. Ask God to keep us from becoming so busy that we forget to listen. Pray that the Lord will show us if we have become embittered through service and to help us repent if we have. Ask that the Lord will help us find joy in our work instead of it becoming a distraction.