Distractions are funny. They come in so many forms. I have two daughters—one is very logical, shy, and quiet while the other one is very talkative, outgoing, and busy. My outgoing daughter is known for beginning a conversation and then getting distracted by almost anything (I think she gets this from me)! Distractions like this are pretty innocent. Sometimes however distractions can be dangerous. Our family has a towing company. One day my husband was towing a semi-truck down the highway. His truck plus the load was around seventy-five feet long and very heavy. As I’m sure you can imagine those things can’t stop on a dime. As he came over a hill, he realized that both lanes of traffic were almost completely stopped. There had been a travel trailer rollover accident in the opposite lane and his two lanes had all slowed down to see what had happened. He drove his wrecker and its load into the median to keep from running over around 15 cars! That distraction could have been dangerous and could have changed our lives, and the lives of the families driving those vehicles forever.
I look around and I see a generation of distracted people. Maybe it’s innocent, but then again, maybe it’s dangerous. You see it too. Look around—everyone is on their cell phone! At dinner, in movies, on dates, they have even had to make traffic laws because of them.
You know what I love about my phone? I can look anything up on this thing! It makes me a million times smarter than I really am. Erynn wants me to do a devo? BAM! Let’s see – Safari – search engine – “best devo ever” I’m set…right? Well, one morning when I was turning on my phone, I noticed this little apple icon pop up on its little “precious” screen—you’ve probably seen it if you have an iPhone. I thought to myself—huh, isn’t that ironic… You see Satan’s used fruit before…he used fruit that would make them “wise”, to distract them from the place of true wisdom and true knowledge. He used it to take Adam and Eve’s focus away from God to distract them from the goal. Is he using it on you too?
Sometimes the most dangerous kinds of distractions are spiritual. They are the ones that take your focus away from God. We find in Luke 10:38-40 a very familiar story of Mary and Martha. I am definitely a “Martha.” I have always related to her as I love to have company, to cook for people, to have them in my home, and to just make them happy. What Martha was doing wasn’t wrong, it was what she was missing. You see the NIV version uses an interesting phrase to describe Martha. It says, “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, Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
It was then that I realized how much like Martha I am—it wasn’t that she didn’t WANT to sit at Christ’s feet, it was that she was so distracted by the cares of the world that she missed what was really important and what really mattered.
So what are we really missing anyways? In II Kings 6, the King of Aram was at war with Israel. He was particularly unhappy with Elisha for ruining all of his battle plans. He sent his army during the night to surround the city Elisha was in. When Elisha and his servant awoke the next morning they saw horses and chariots and a great force. It says in verses 15-17, “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
Elisha’s servant allowed his fear to distract him from his God. So what are you missing while you are distracted? Maybe you are missing God. Or at least the work God is sending you to do.
Studies have shown that the more “screen time” you are involved in, the less compassionate and empathetic you are toward others. So is that affecting us? Are we really being less compassionate and empathetic to others?
God says in I John 5:16-17, “If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that. All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.”
And again in I John 3:17-18, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
Do you SEE your brother or sister entangled in sin? Or in need of physical help? Look up from that phone and look around you at who needs you. One of my favorite passages of scripture is in II Kings 4:8-ff. It contains the story of the Shunamite. I guess I love it because I can relate so well to it. The Shunamite was a well-to-do woman. She always urged Elisha the prophet to stay and eat at her house when he was in town. She encouraged her husband to add a room onto their house for this man-which they did.
Elisha was so grateful for what she had done that he wanted to repay her. He asked her what he could do for her, but the content Shunamite said she had need of nothing. That wasn’t good enough for Elisha-she had given him a HOME and so when his servant suggested giving her a child he did! In one year the Shunamite was pregnant! She gave birth to a son. After years of prayer God had finally blessed her with a child! Not long after, the boy became sick and his father sent him to his mother. She held the boy in her lap and watched her baby boy, her only son, die! She got up, laid him on Elisha’s bed, and shut the door. She took a servant and a donkey and rode! She rode as fast as she could to see the man of God. When he saw her in the distance HE SAW HER! Yes, that’s redundant, but that’s the point. He knew something was wrong. He sent his servant to run and meet her. The servant went to her and he said, “Are you alright? Is your husband alright? Is your child alright?”
And do you know what she replied? I’m sure you do, because I know I have said it and I’m sure you’ve said it as well. She said, “Everything is alright,” Basically I’m FINE, I’m ALRIGHT, everything is PEACHY!
Verse 27 says, “When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, ‘Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.’” When she reached the man of God it says she was in “Bitter distress.” That word is “vexed” which means tortured in her soul! But what was it that she said? Everything is alright. What if Elisha’s servant said, “Okay, great! We’ll see you next week at worship! Tell your husband and son “Hi” for us.”
This happens all the time! WE need to stop being distracted, and be the Elisha that sees when things really aren’t “alright.”
Someone I love got into drugs, someone else had an affair, someone was raped, someone had their house foreclosed on, all while everything was “alright”! Be the Elisha, the one to run to when it really isn’t alright! The one that is there, eager to point the needy to the one that really can help. God is sending you, don’t be distracted! Make sure!
II Peter 3:11-12 says, “SEEING that all these things shall be dissolved what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness looking for and hastening the coming of God.”
Lay your worldly cares aside, the ones that moth and rust will destroy and SEE the things that are eternal.
Originally posted 6/23/14
Julie Lucero is originally from New Mexico. She has been married to her wonderful husband Angelo for 16 years. They have 4 beautiful children and are currently homeschooling them. They are members of the church of Christ, in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Where they are striving to raise their family up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.