38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things,
42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Christmas is said to be the most wonderful time of the year! With another Christmas come and gone, you’ve probably just experienced another season filled with full calendars, special gatherings, and a lot of hustle and bustle to make sure the season is right. If you’re in the local church, there is no exemption to this, and quite often those of us in vocational ministry go to the opposite extreme of sleeping in heavenly peace. Maybe you saw the church that offers Christmas services at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8…who do we appreciate? I appreciate the worship and production teams…the pastors, child care workers and other volunteers devoted to providing those services to so many people. If that was you, whether one service or many, your hard work and dedication wasn’t in vain. And the people who came through your church doors, who were experiencing the full gamut and spectrum of the highs and lows of life, were able to hear that Jesus left all and God is with us. I thank you for all you did to make that happen.
Recently, in the middle of this busy season, I was doing a Bible Study in my office with my team. We were walking through one of those familiar passages that you’ve seen a thousand times. Luke 10:38-42. I’m sure you know the passage very well, but in the midst of my personal busy season, God whispered a gentle reminder to me. In verse 40 it says,
“But Martha was distracted with much serving…”
I had seen this before and even dissected it from many angles. But in that moment, the morning after my Christmas Eve service rehearsal, caught in the rush of Christmas preparations, I knew God had laid a special word on my heart for me, my team around the immediate table, and all of the people that would be making our Christmas Eve services happen. In all of our serving and preparations, in all the planning and details…I was being reminded…don’t miss it.
Don’t miss it? Maybe it seems absurd to think that you’d go to that much trouble and miss the moment. But if we’re honest and transparent, it has potential all the time in ministry. Sometimes it might be an attack from the enemy, sometimes our focus might be slightly off kilter. But even with our hearts and minds in the right place, all of us are prone to being “distracted through service”. It’s so subtle…so innocent…and even if it never happens to you, it happens to the people you lead. We are all susceptible to this, and all need to be reminded, especially around seasons like Christmas to focus in on those special moments. To draw near and soak up God’s revelation and tenderly and transparently respond.
Another Christmas has come and gone, did you miss it? Were you able to ponder the wonder, mystery, and full weight of why Jesus came and what it means for God and sinners to be reconciled? Christmas might be gone, but another Sunday is always coming and has the potential to catch us and those on our teams off guard. Use the influence you have to remind yourself, and your teams to “chose the good portion” like Jesus described. All of their roles and jobs are important and we all know we can’t do what we do without them, but leading them well means we are making sure they are “sitting at the Lord’s feet” and “listening to his teaching”. Maybe it’s the person on your production team that works every Sunday with no rotation, or maybe it’s that faithful volunteer tirelessly working with your children each and every week. Maybe you need to “encourage” your band players to pick one of your multiple services to sit with the congregation instead of the green room. There’s no prescribed call to action and that’s what makes it tricky, but consistent attention to this not only allows God to shepherd your heart, it allows you to greater shepherd your people.
How are you keeping your teams focused? Sometimes that can happen through a conversation or an encouraging word. Sometimes through a note or e-mail with reassuring verses or thoughts to ponder. Worship leaders, what if Sunday morning your production team showed up to find a handwritten card with their name on it being reminded of this text? The likelihood of them going through that morning distracted by service is probably not as likely. I’m convinced it’s little things like this that keep our teams from being distracted by serving, focused on the main thing, choosing the good portion, and growing together. We are called to lead them well by feeding them well.