Life is filled with choices. The vast majority of these are in the realm of the mundane: What pants or shirt am I going to wear? Will I have a burger or chicken fingers? Plain or peanut M&Ms? Or neither… I’ll have a Snickers bar!
Some choices are between what is right and wrong, between good and evil. Will I keep this gossip to myself, or will I give it wings? The cashier gave me too much change. Will I keep it or give it back?
Still other choices are between what is good and what is better. Sports and recreation are all good in their proper place, but oftentimes they are chosen over things that are better. “Bodily exercise profits for a little while, but godliness is profitable for all things” (1 Tim 4:8).
This latter category is the kind of choice we find today in Luke 10:38-42. Jesus has entered the house of Mary and Martha (sisters to Lazarus – John 11:17-37) and is teaching. Mary has chosen to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen, while Martha has chosen to busy herself trying to serve Jesus and the rest who are in the house.
Frustrated by Mary’s lack of assistance, Martha complains to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore, tell her to help me.”
Jesus was not without compassion or understanding. He fully recognized Martha’s difficulty and her desire to make her guests comfortable. To do otherwise would have been a severe breach of conduct in the day.
Moreover, He showed Martha that hers was not a decision between what is right and wrong, or good and evil. Rather, He held up her sister as choosing what was better over what was good.
I think we do our kids a terrible disservice when we permit their extracurricular school activities to rob them of opportunities to grow spiritually. I grew up in an era prior to the present state of sports idolatry. I played on good teams and we won a lot of games, but sports was never held up as the standard of personal excellence.
Sports and other like activities have a lot to offer young people: discipline, teamwork, learning how to win and lose with dignity, etc. But godliness is profitable for all things (1 Tim 4:8).