[ree-kal-uh-breyt] verb (used with or without object): 1. to correct or adjust the gradations or settings on (a measuring instrument, sensor, or other piece of precision equipment). 2. to reexamine (one’s thinking, a plan, a system of values, etc.) and correct it in accord with a new understanding or purpose.
Recalibrate. This is the word that’s been on my mind these past couple of weeks. In Luke 10:38-42 we encounter the familiar story of Martha and Mary. Jesus and his band of disciples show up for a surprise visit. Can you imagine? This was not a shared Google calendar event and there was no text message to provide a heads-up of their pending arrival. Facebook events were not a thing back then, so no way for this traveling teacher to RSVP. No warning at all. Just a knock on the door and suddenly Martha had a house full of at least a dozen guests. Martha gets to work “preparing the house”—cleaning, searching for bedding, and making food. These are all good, hospitable things. You and I would have acted similarly if we were in her shoes (or sandals). But not so with the one she probably thought she could rely on the most. Her sister, Mary, simply sits down and listens to Jesus. Are you kidding me? What a lazy bum! Get off your butt and get to work! At least, that was Martha’s initial and understandable reaction. Truthfully, it would have been mine too. Fortunately, she took a better approach than giving her slacking sibling a piece of her mind. An exasperated and frustrated Martha comes to Jesus and says, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
Jesus seizes this opportunity to recalibrate the heart of Martha. A teachable moment. This poor, stressed out and exhausted woman was doing all sorts of good things to serve her guests, but she had become distracted from the most important thing. Literally the word used to describe Martha by the Gospel writer is cumbered. She was “over-occupied, too busy about a thing, troubled and distressed.” She had become so busy serving in this moment that she had overlooked the chance to simply sit and listen at the feet of the Savior. To say it another way, Martha made the mistake of thinking she was the host and Jesus was the guest. This is the powerful point Jesus is making, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” Sitting and being fed by the Word of God is the most important “one thing” that Jesus elevates… for Martha and for us.
There are many good things that we do in our daily routines. We care for our aging or sick loved ones. We chauffer our kids from activity to activity. We work late nights and often straight through the weekends. We serve our neighbors with meals. We apply for jobs to provide for our family. We volunteer at schools and nursing homes. We run all kinds of necessary errands for ourselves and others. We keep at never-ending chore lists and laundry piles. Certainly, these are not bad things. These are indeed good ways we serve others and show mercy. But could it possibly be that we too have become distracted? Has our ability or desire to listen to the Word of God been put on the back burner? Have we neglected bringing Jesus into every aspect of our lives?
It is time to recalibrate. Time for us to reexamine our values and priorities. As you begin these summer months, could you benefit from a little more time spent at the feet of Jesus? Of course. We all can. What parts of your life have become more burdensome and distracting, as opposed to a play for true joy in Jesus and enjoyment in others? There are many things that I need to recalibrate. Nothing major, but there are plenty of parts of my life that need to be adjusted and re-centered. I would imagine that I’m not the only one. Psalm 1 declares, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” It is too easy to overlook the important things in a non-stop, busy life. Let’s do better!
Don’t let the devil distract you.
Stop being cumbered.
“If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”