Tom Shefchunas kicked off the Big Room on Saturday morning at NYWC 2019 by referring to Jesus’ “Parable of the Lost Son” in Luke 15. The older brother was upset because he had been slaving for years, but the father reminds that he has always been WITH him and everything has been FOR him.

Then he introduced our speaker, Samer Massad.

Samer started off by talking about medieval torture methods. While this seems odd, one of the French torture techniques was called Distraction. 

Death by Distraction: Being pulled in so many directions that it causes someone to metaphorically die. 

Distraction can be defined as anything urgent that takes your attention from something important.

One of the distractions we may not pay attention to much, one that we often don’t see as a distraction, is our ministry. And it often pulls us away from what is most important, our personal relationship with Jesus.

Jesus goes to Mary and Martha’s house in Luke 10. Mary was sitting, listening, and learning at Jesus’ feet while Martha was slaving away in the kitchen, distracted by her duties. Martha then expresses how she is upset that Mary isn’t helping. She was so concerned about the pressure and burden of having Jesus in her home, and she couldn’t understand how Mary just sat there while there was so much work to do.

Aren’t we often just like Martha?

Jesus responds to Martha, saying her name twice, telling her she is worried and upset about so many things. Then He tells her that Mary chose what is better. He didn’t say what she was doing was wrong, He just said that Mary chose what is better.

As Samer said, “Even a good thing can distract you from a better thing.”

Jesus is talking about order and priority. He tells her she is distracted and there is something more important. Often we get distracted by doing something for Jesus when we really should simply just be with Jesus.

Samer reminded us, “Doing for Jesus is not the same as being with Jesus.”

For so many of us, we are walking around empty and depleted.

In his book, Soul Keeping, John Ortberg says, “If the devil can’t make you sin, he will make you busy, because either will make your soul shrivel.”

Some of us are driving around. Our check engine light has been on for a while. And we have been ignoring it.

In Matthew 11, Jesus says He wants to restore what has been depleted. He wants to restore your soul. Stop trying to do it alone. He wants to make your burden light.

Take on the posture of Mary.

As Samer began to wrap up, he stated, “Nobody wins when we are overcome and overrun. Nobody gets our best when we fail to come to Jesus for rest.”

Jesus doesn’t just love us because we are in ministry. He will still want to love us even if we’re not working in ministry. And He wants a relationship with us, no matter how and what we are doing in ministry.

Samer ended with this challenge: “Take on the posture of Mary. The health of your soul depends on it.”


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