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.
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.
- To Do-ers List Study Guide PDF
- Days Lite: My Wonderful Life App free app from App Store.
- The Spiritual Discipline of Silence and Solitude
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!
Jane, I love today’s post! I can see the process in which Mary was drawn like a magnet to the feet of Jesus. I never realized the possibility of other people over hearing Martha’s complaints against Mary.
To be at His feet is not so much about time, but timing. Do it first. Before the dishes, before the chores, before the kids get up. Make Him my first and every priority.
Jane VanOsdol says
Mary, I love your insight about timing. For me, the longer I put off my time with Jesus during the day, the harder it gets for me to do it. I get consumed by the busyness of the day.
Jane VanOsdol says
Along with the interactive gratitude I mentioned yesterday, I am exploring a process called My Daily Bread, where you pray for your daily priorities with Jesus.
Love this post! It hits home for me! As a stay at home mom (with no children home during the day) you would think it would be easy for me to prioritize my time! Sometimes “chores” get in the way! Working on mornings with God! Thanks for the encouragement!
Jane VanOsdol says
I know exactly what you mean! That to-do list is always chanting in the back of my mind “Come on, get started. You’ve got lots of things to get done today!” It’s hard to shut that voice out!