Distracted by Details


You may have read the story that describes someone who gets up to find their glasses, sees a droopy plant on the way, and stops to water it. They wipe up a spill and end up dusting the entire room, then come across a book they had been wanting to read but they can’t find their glasses. We laugh at how easily this person was distracted by simple things, yet we cringe a bit, too, because we have all been there. We start out with good intentions to do one thing and end up being pulled in many other directions.

  • When was a time you got distracted from your original goal?


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.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How do verses 38 and 39 show us Martha and Mary’s personalities and focus?
  2. How did Martha’s service become her liability (vs. 40)?
  3. What did Martha accuse Jesus of, and what did she tell him to do (vs. 40)? What do we learn about Jesus in the way he responds (vs. 41)?
  4. What did Jesus highlight as “necessary” and “the good portion”? What can we take away from his words?
  5. When have you allowed your gifts or your focus to become liabilities, resulting in your missing the main thing?


All of us have been Marthas sometime. We get distracted by details, and anxiety and frustration overtake generosity and grace. Like Martha, our intentions are good, but we end up concentrated on lesser things and being pulled in too many directions. Mary chose to let the details go and focus on Jesus. As Jesus followers, we are called both to spend time with him and to serve others. Martha’s service to Jesus coupled with Mary’s time spent with him could have complimented each other, and together, they could have shown us what a faithful relationship with Jesus looks like. Our challenge is the same as Martha’s: to stay grounded in what’s important and let the unnecessary distractions go.

  • Thank Jesus for the gifts he has given you. Ask him to help you stay focused and to keep those gifts grounded in a close and deep walk with him.