By: Brian Pachinger, Pastor of Student Ministries

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha
 opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10:38-42

Do you ever feel like Martha during the holidays, running around anxious about all the work that needs to be done, but then feeling like you don’t have the quality time to spend with family? So many of us get worked up about all the details that are coming that we miss the importance of the holidays. It seems like people either love the holidays or hate them depending on what their experiences have been. If you work in retail its possible you have a special place in your heart for the holidays…possibly not a great place when you think of the hours and the shopping craze. In the midst of all that is happening we end up missing the focused time that this allows us to spend with the Lord, and with other people. Are the holidays a time for you to be distracted or is it a time to love people well?

The transient nature of our culture forces us to live with more intentionality toward relationships than ever before. This isn’t necessarily a rant about social media and our phones, but as the Pastor of Student Ministries I have to deal with so many electronic trends that are facing our young people. One roadblock to relationships is the regular usage of electronics over relationships. I wonder if the present day “Martha” wouldn’t be so stressed about all the houseguests and providing for them as much as they’d be uninvolved due to their Facebook, twitter, or Snapchat accounts. Would Jesus say you are anxious and troubled or would he say your focus is distracted? Or would he commend you for loving him, and loving people in the way that he’s called you?

Isn’t that really the focus of Jesus’s words to Martha? Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus learning, being, caring, listening. Martha was working, stressing, full of what she should be doing and taking care of instead of focusing on what is the most important. This holiday season I challenge you to put the first things first. Take time to reflect and love the Lord, and to love his people. For many of us, we may see certain people in our families only a few times a year, so will you use this time to love well…or will you be distracted?