Read Luke 10:38-42

Some people are magnificent Christians right out of the gate.  They read their Bibles, do their devotionals, pray in front of people, and get the jargon down fairly quickly.  It took me years to learn the Christian ropes.  Then, once I had it all figured out and got accepted into a Bible college, it only took a few months for all my ideas of God to crumble and become wreckage.

I remember my experience vividly.  I fasted for a while and became extremely hungry.  I felt a constant pain as my stomach reminded me of the absence of food.  On the way home for Easter, I asked my friends to stop by the graveyard where my mother was buried for a quick visit.  After a short time there, we drove across the street and visited another graveyard.  The locals in my town called it The Mounds.  It’s a wooded area where the city buried unclaimed bodies, mostly homeless people no one knew.  Growing up, my friends and I would visit because it had a spooky feel and we’d all get freaked out.  There was no headstones or markers to tell us where the bodies were, but because the graves were so shallow the dirt formed tall mounds above the corpses lying beneath.

I looked around and fell to my knees as the reality of the moment began to sink in.  I had just visited with my mom, who had a normal headstone showing me where she was, in a normal graveyard with a normal sign to welcome all visitors.  And there I knelt, just across the street, amongst the forgotten of our city.  The people buried in The Mounds had no regular visitors because there was no one to remember them.  Before rising to my feet that day, I made a promise to the people scattered around me: I would remember them.

When I went back to college, life was different.  It was as if I had new eyes and I began to see things I had never seen before.  Every morning as I walked to school, I passed by neighbors who had been sleeping outside for some time, and I began to notice them.  I was spending more than 12 hours on campus at a Bible college every day, and walking past the very people Christ would have me help.  Bible college was a good thing, but as my fasting and praying continued I began to learn my focus was off. 

Sometimes, I get so caught up in doing good I miss what’s best.  I look at this passage about Martha and her efforts to do good, and I am reminded of my time at college.  It felt good learning about God until I

realized  I didn’t really know Him.  As my eyes were opened, I knew I had been missing Him.  I was so focused on doing right, I did wrong.

Later that year I packed a PT Cruiser with sleeping bags, friends, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  We rode around the East Coast visiting city parks.  We took our PB&Js to people who needed lunch and ate with them, asking them to share their story.  I wanted them to know they would never be forgotten.  And I wanted to be certain I wasn’t missing Jesus.  I was in the process of becoming more like Mary and less like Martha, but like everything in life, it’s a journey.

  1. The story of Martha and Mary is all about focus.  Where is your focus?  Is it possible that Jesus is trying to get your attention?
  2. Can you identify times in your life when you may have missed Jesus?  Are there overlooked people around you that you need to know that aren’t forgotten?  How can you show them they will be remembered?
  3. Is it possible to become so focused on doing right we actually do wrong.  Is there a time in your life when you felt wrong by someone else trying to do right?  Have you ever wronged someone else in the pursuit of doing right?  What are some examples?

Day 4 of 8 from the 2016 Mission Discovery Devotional