I had the girls for a few days. The weather was so beautiful, we decided to take a walk – Jocelyn strapped into the little red buggy car and Sophia would ride her scooter. We crossed the street so as to make use of the sidewalk which only lines one side of our street, and off we went.
It wasn’t long before I realized Sophia was having some difficulty as she kept crashing into the stone walls or bushes. She soon learned to jump off her scooter to avoid getting hurt, so I figured I would offer her a little advice:
Me: “Sophia, if you slow down a little bit, you will be better able to steer.”
Sophia: “Mimi, it is hard. I just can’t do it.”
Since I knew she was able to steer her bike just fine, I continued:
Me: “It is just like steering your bike.”
We were now at a standstill on the sidewalk, deep in conversation. Sophia shared her insight that there was a distinct difference between bike riding and the scooter. I was given a crash course on the motion one’s legs make as they ride a bike versus the scooter.
And then came this:
Sophia: “Mimi, would you rather I steer or go fast because I cannot do both.”
I have laughed as I thought about our excursion. And then this morning, I read of the time Jesus went to the home of Martha for a visit. A problem, similar to that of Sophia, aroseÂ …
Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. (Luke 10: 39-40a, NLT)
Martha was doing what was expected of women in that day – she was being hospitable. Mary, on the other hand, was sitting and listening to every word Jesus was speaking. Martha faced the same problem as Sophia.
She was unable to do two things at once.
We live in a time when the ability to multitask is admired. I wonder at our ability to do multiple things at the same time and do them all well.
Martha was distracted. She was unable to to hear while serving. Her desire to both serve and spend time with Jesus caused her to feel divided inside. She might have (hypothetically) said:
“Lord, I can serve you all a good meal or sit and listen to You but I cannot do both.”
Martha was distracted from listening. She probably could hear Jesus talking but she was not listening as her thoughts turned to the tasks she needed to do.
And don’t we all do the same thing?
- We hear our kids asking us questions.
- We can hear the news on the TV.
- We can hear the sermon.
- We hear the background noise as we shop in a store.
We hear the words but truly are not absorbing the depth of what is being said.
Whereas when we truly listen, we are understanding what is being heard and we respond. When we listen, not just hear, somehow, we are moved to action or a reaction.
I have no doubt Sophia will come to the place where she will be able to steer and go fast.
And I pray I will listen with understanding. I want to listen, absorbing what I hear so that I will be changed. May His Words sink deep into our hearts, rooting firmly so that we will not be shaken when the winds blow.
May we listen with intent and not be distracted.