February 4

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Why Focusing on Jesus Always Brings Clarity

By Craig Smith

February 4, 2021

frustration

Focusing on Jesus brings peace. Distraction Brings Frustration; Focusing on Jesus Brings Clarity.

Christmas season 2020! I brought the tree into the living room and stood it up in front of the staircase wall.  Then the long, careful process of making sure that the lights and decorations were properly on the tree began.  I turned on the light switch once everything was on the tree and…nothing!  Not a single light illuminated.  In the past, this meant a long and tedious process of finding the culprit bulb or bulbs and exchanging them with new ones. However, this time I noticed that the most important step had been forgotten: I didn’t plug in the power cord. With the one thing properly tended to, voila! Christmas 2020 officially began in the Smith home. 

Life can be similar. You can choose many things for your life and place them where you think they will help you reach the fullest life experience possible. However, there is one thing that everyone needs in their life and without it, their life will never unfold to the fullest.

Yes, you have a list of needs and wants. Yes, there are important decisions to make, goals to pursue, life-threatening viruses to avoid, and culture-altering issues to rightly address. These things are all important. However, their significance pales in comparison to the one thing you need to illumine your heart and to live your life to the fullest. This is the love of Jesus Christ, and for him to abound in your heart far above all other things.

The mere mention of his name seems to stir up emotions. For some, the emotions manifest as frustration, ridicule, and anger, but for others they manifest as peace, joy, love, and gratefulness.

A Young Woman Named Mary and Her Choice to Listen

In Luke 10:30-42, there is a story of a young woman named Mary, who discovered life’s most crucial concern and focus.

Jesus and his disciples were en route to Jerusalem when they came upon a village. There, a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home to rest and eat. They accepted the respite and entered her home. While Martha prepared a meal for her guests, her sister Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what he would teach. Martha became frustrated with her sister for not lending a hand in the kitchen. Martha probably wanted to be with Jesus too. After all, she invited him and his disciples into her home. If Mary would help with the food preparation, things would go more quickly.

However, the narrator accurately assesses the situation for the benefit of everyone who is processing and prioritizing their lives.

Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. Were her guests expecting a big dinner? Well that was typically the intent of such invitations. And, Martha knew her guests were very special and in turn wanted to make their visit very special as well. These are not wrong motives at face value, but from the tone of this unfolding story Martha overlooked the most important thing.  She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.

In the writing and telling of stories, there is always a purpose. In the telling of good stories for good purposes comes the antiquated phrase, the moral of the story is

The moral of this story is: The things of this world you thought would help you achieve a fulfilled life, simply will not help you. One thing is necessary to genuinely illuminate your heart to experience a fulfilled life, and all else must pale in comparison. The one thing was Mary’s choice, to have genuine relationship and adoration with the illuminator of the heart, Jesus Christ. He must not be just the visitor in your house, but the resident in your heart.

-Craig Smith

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