Back to School: Listen to the Teacher

To Do-ers List: Back to School, Listen to the Teacher

When I was in sixth grade, my best friend, Dawn and I had the great fortune to sit next to each other in class. While we were happy about it, our teacher, Mr. Herrmann, was probably not so thrilled. Dawn and I always had plenty to talk about, and on this particular day we chose to discuss our latest plans while he was trying to teach. We definitely did not listen to the teacher.

After several warning glances, Mr. Herrmann ran out of patience and called us out in front of the class. Usually not one to get in trouble, I was mortified and upset that I had disobeyed the teacher. My punishment was to write my spelling words 30 times each to be turned in the next day. Embarrassed, Dawn and I closed our mouths and listened.

That little story may be one reason why I identify so well with Martha in today’s scripture. Martha gets a call out of her own, and I can just imagine that she might have been keeping up a constant stream of chatter, too, while Jesus was trying to teach.

Listen to the Teacher

38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman name Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’ 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:38-42 NKJ

The Teacher Comes to Town

Martha was excited to have Jesus in town. She invited Him to her home and was preparing a meal for all the guests. While Martha was cooking, Jesus was talking. And when He talked, people listened. They were compelled to listen. Everyone, it seems, except Martha.

Here’s how I imagine it went: Mary starts out in the kitchen helping Martha, with Martha giving the directions.

“Mary, take this tray out to the guests, and then come right back so that you can help me with the next course. I’ll need you to … ”

As Mary escapes the kitchen, Martha is still chattering and rehearsing to herself about what needs to be done next so that everything is perfect for Jesus.

Mary sets the tray down and magnetized by Jesus’ voice, she stops…listens…and sits. Pretty soon she can’t help herself and inches closer and closer until she is right at Jesus’s feet, hanging on his every word, eyes locked on his face.

In the meantime, Martha’s frustration is growing by the second. She waves her arms, trying to get Mary’s attention.

“Psst! Mary, Maary! Psst! Come here.” Realizing that is useless because Mary can’t see her, Martha’s patience boils over, and she approaches Jesus with her plea.

Martha’s Come-to-Jesus Meetin’

I can just see Martha’s and every other eye in the room turn to look at Mary to get her comeuppence when Jesus surprises them by patiently and lovingly pointing out Martha’s fault. And ours. We are worried and troubled about many things. Instead, we need to figure out what our “one thing” priorities are, and that involves spending time listening to our Savior. Mary chose wisely. It was Martha who needed a readjustment.

For Today:

Of course we realize that tasks need to get done at home and at work. That wasn’t Jesus’ point. The point is that He needs to be our first priority in life, and we have to figure out what that looks like for the season of life we are in.

Write in your app or in your notes what you want your time with Jesus to look like. Pray about this and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Be realistic. If you have small children, are a caretaker, or have a job with immediate demands, keep that in mind. The important thing is that your are connecting with Jesus on a regular basis. Be as specific as you can. “I want to focus on prayer for 15 minutes.” “I will do the Armor of God study by Priscilla Shirer.” I want to incorporate 10 minutes of silence and solitude into my prayer time.” Pick one way that you will listen to the Teacher Jesus and incorporate that into your life moving forward.


To help you organize your daily study and record your experiences, please download and print the following PDF, or download the journal app to your favorite Apple device.

Don’t forget to comment on your experience in the comment section below! Choose your verse/s for today and be a Doer of the Word. School is in session. Time to listen to the teacher!

Previous Sessions of To Do-ers List, Back to School:

Day 1: New Clothes

Day 2: The Book

Day 3: Pack a Lunch

The Simple Life Week Two

Week Two:

The World and Unshakable Simplicity

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Jane and I welcome you back to Week Two of The Simple Life! We are very excited to continue this journey with you into the Hat jpegsimple. We pray that you have begun to leave behind the tyranny of busyness and have turned toward becoming a slave of peace. May you continue to answer God’s call to leave the complicated and embrace the simple. Be sure to listen to the Michael W. Smith piece posted below (You will be on your knees by the end of this song … worthy is the Lamb.)

Community Call Week 2

For those of you who weren’t able to join the community call on TalkShoe, here is the Week 2 recording. Simply click on the sideways arrow to listen.

To kick off the second week, we have recorded a very short video for you to get you thinking about this week’s topic. We’ve embedded it right here so that you can watch it.

Weekly Homework

Remember to check your email every Tuesday evening for your new password for the week.  Below you will find homework for each level of study. Feel free to change from Level 1,  to Level 2, to Level 3  as your schedule allows! Remember, there is no pressure to complete every activity. These are just options for your growth. They can be accessed at any time, even after the study ends.

Level 1, Study: Weekly Goals 

  • For Week 2, do chapters 3 and 4 in Becoming A Woman of Simplicity.
  • Remember to focus on Jesus.
  • Feel free to do any of the other activities from Levels 2 and 3 as your time allows.

Level 2, Community: Weekly Goals 

  • For Week 2, do chapters 3 and 4 of Becoming A Woman of Simplicity.
  • Answer the question on the Speak Your Mind comment section at the bottom of this post.
  • Join the Community Call, Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. EST on Talk Shoe (Information on TalkShoe is in your weekly email.)
  • Listen to the Podcast for information on casting your burdens on the Lord.We also left the link from last week.  Simply click on the links below. We have kept this podcast the same from last week, because it applies to both weeks.

Silence and Solitude podcast

 Level 3, Opportunity: Weekly Goals 

  • For Week 2, do chapters 3 and 4 of Becoming A Woman of Simplicity.
  • Answer the question on the Speak Your Mind comment section at the bottom of this post, join the Community Call on Wednesday night on TalkShoe, and listen to the Podcast at the link provided up above.
  • Don’t forget to check out our private Facebook page. Leave your comments about this week’s study, post your prayer requests, or share any insights/questions you may have. Only members of our Bible study group will see these posts.
  • Your Simple Challenge activity for this week is Silence.  Commit this week to adding more silence to your life. Turn off the radio while you are driving to work. Skip the morning news–you’ll be surprised how much more peaceful your heart will be. Add a time of silence at the end of your day. Resolve to listen today instead of talk.  For more ideas on how to add silence to your life please visit the following link (Be sure to click on the Jesus Prayer link.): Silence
  • Take advantage of the Extra Simple resources by clicking on the links below:


20130713-085250.jpg     In The Morning




ID-100109270  Scripture Prescriptions: Perfect Peace




Image courtesy of stockimages /

For your listening and worshiping pleasure, please be blessed by the beautiful music of Michael W. Smith (make sure you listen all the way to the end–you’ll be simply blessed!):

Questions of the Week (Please respond in the Speak Your Mind section at the very bottom of this page).

1. How did you add more silence to your life this week? What did you feel how did it affect you and your family? What did God teach you through this silent time?




Image courtesy of evgeni dinev /

Image courtesy of Vlado /

The Spiritual Discipline of Silence and Solitude (podcast)

Join Jane VanOsdol and guest Ron Stohler, pastor of Growth and Groups at Grace Community Church in Noblesville, Indiana as they discuss the spiritual discipline of silence and solitude. You won’t want to miss this interesting and exciting podcast as you prepare for Easter!


Here’s a bit of what to expect:

Ron Stohler

  • A discussion of what spiritual disciplines are and why we need them in our lives.
  • Introducing the discipline of silence and solitude and why the other spiritual disciplines spring off of this.
  • Discussion over whether anyone can really hear from God.
  • Discovering some of the ways we might hear from God.


28399: Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 20th Anniversary Edition Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth, 20th Anniversary EditionBy Richard Foster / HarperOne
328810: Sacred Rhythms Participant"s Guide: Spiritual Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Life Sacred Rhythms Participant’s Guide: Spiritual Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your LifeBy Ruth Haley Barton / Zondervan
113826: Sacred Rhythms: Spiritual Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Life Sacred Rhythms: Spiritual Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your LifeBy Ruth Haley Barton / Zondervan
58108: The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday LifeBy Tony Jones / Youth Specialties