In 2009, a research team at Stanford University studied more than two hundred students in an experiment that included switching between tasks and memory exercises. Surprisingly, the study found that students who viewed themselves as good multitaskers because they were in the habit of doing several things at a time, did worse than those who preferred to perform one task at a time. Multitasking made it more difficult to focus their thoughts and filter irrelevant information. Maintaining focus when our minds are distracted can be a challenge.
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha’s home, Martha was busy working and “distracted by all the preparations” (Luke 10:40). Her sister Mary chose to sit and listen to Jesus teach, gaining wisdom and peace that would never be taken away from her (vv. 39–42). When Martha asked Jesus to encourage Mary to help her, He responded, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one” (vv. 41–42).
God desires our attention. But, like Martha, we’re often distracted by tasks and problems. We neglect God’s presence even though He alone can provide the wisdom and hope we need. When we make spending time with Him through prayer and meditating on Scripture a priority, He’ll give us the guidance and strength we need to address the challenges we face.