When Ministry Becomes a Distraction
When we think of distractions, social media or phones come to mind. Distractions divide our focus. I remember when I was in my early 20’s, I had an accident because I was checking a comment on MySpace on my phone. I was distracted which resulted in an accident. Distractions can lead to destruction at times. For some a phone is the distraction, for others, a person can be the distraction to their purpose.
Distractions divide our focus.
“But Martha was distracted with much serving…”Luke 10:40 (NJK)
Well, that’s new! Distracted with serving? Serving Jesus can become a distraction? Interesting. How can one know if serving has become a distraction?
Let’s look at Martha. She was distressed, worried, and upset, all while serving. Jesus said that His yoke is easy and his burden is light. Whatever Martha was doing was burdening her and causing her pain.
Distractions produce distress.
Martha’s distraction hindered her expression of love for Jesus which is the most important thing. Instead of loving on Jesus, she accused Jesus of being unfair. The most important thing was not making a meal for Jesus, but making time for Jesus and Martha missed that. Her focus on making a meal was a distraction from eating the True Bread of Life.
Martha’s distraction also hindered her love for her sister. Instead of loving her sister, she was frustrated with her, because Mary was not helping her. The second most important commandment is to love others, not to use them. Martha was upset that Mary was not helping her. Her disappointment distracted her from this important commandment which encourages her to love her sister. Sometimes the people that work with us drop the ball and we get outraged by their mistakes and forget that our first assignment is to love people, especially those who are suppose to help us, but are not doing a great job at it. That’s hard…
Martha’s distraction hindered her from loving herself. She now felt alone, isolated and abandoned. When we lose sight of the presence of Jesus and our mission to love others, self-pity will be the result that will follow.
So, how do we get on the right path? Glad you asked!
- Put DEVOTION over DETAILS. As Martha and every leader know, we pay attention to details in our sphere of responsibility. These details can be like a coin that blocks the sun, it clouds our view of Jesus. Jesus told Martha, ONE THING IS NEEDED – the most important thing in ministry is not ministry itself, but Jesus. Details are important, but devotion to the Lord is the most important.
- Put PEOPLE over PRINCIPLES. Martha valued providing a good meal for Jesus over having a good relationship with her sister. Alpha leaders, or leaders with strong personalities – this is our common sin. We tend to step over anyone as long as we can move the ball further. We tend to accuse, blame and shame people for not doing a great job of helping us. All while forgetting that we are doing a poor job of loving them. Both of us are guilty and need help. Pharisees loved principles but did not care about people. In fact, they would kill people to uphold standards. Jesus died for people.
- Put SELF-CARE over SELF-PITY. Martha felt sorry for herself for being the only one left to do the work while no one was there to help her. That is usually the state of mind many leaders have today. “I am the only one.” “No one is there to help me.” While that can be true for that moment. We must put self-pity in second place and prioritize self-care. Take care of your soul. Take care of your mind. Take care of your body. Do not allow your emotions to be a garbage dump for your situation. Take responsibility for what is inside of you.
For the ministry not to become a distraction and distress, choose: DEVOTION over DETAILS, PEOPLE over PRINCIPLES, SELF-CARE over SELF-PITY.
Life on earth is a battle. We are in spiritual warfare. We live in a broken world. We are not promised a life without struggle, trials, or tribulations. In no way, do I want to send a message that this earth is heaven. However, some of our distresses are of our own doing. We must learn and grow to be more like Jesus. Our ministry should not be our misery. Love God. Love people. Love yourself. That is more important than having success in the public eye.
I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!