During college I had the opportunity to teach a dance class for pre-schoolers and throughout that experience I observed that each one of my students fell into a certain category when it came to receiving instruction. It struck me that many of their attitudes are similar to how we react to God’s discipline and guidance.
1. The Wanderer: This child never stays in line, continually ignores redirection, apologizes but then just continues to deviate.
2. The Follower: Always looking to others in the class to mimic their actions and appears to lack confidence in their own skill.
3. The Defiant one: The one who says “No, I don’t want to do that!” to every. single. request.
4. The Kiss up: The one who can be found saying, “Look at me! Look at me!” It’s all about them and they take pride in doing things well when they are seen by others.
5. The Hungry one: Watches the teacher, listens to the teacher, copies the teacher and is grateful for the teacher’s instruction.
Are you catching where I am going with this?
The last two examples remind me of a biblical story in Luke 10 where two women are both wanting to serve their Teacher but the attitude of their heart is reflected in their actions.
“38 “As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
41 ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’ “
Was Martha seeking praise from Jesus? Was Martha looking for compliments? Was she a kiss up? We don’t know what was exactly going on in her heart, but we do know that she was focused on valuable things instead of the valuable One.
We have this great Teacher who is available to us at anytime and anywhere. He will guide us in decisions, teach us, counsel us in time of need, show us new and exciting things and correct when we need it so that we grow. In this passage, Jesus challenges us that our hearts would not be found by him to be wandering, defiant, following others or trying to receive accolades from Him and others.
This story, especially during the Christmas season, reminds us of what Jesus sees as most important. Jesus is clearly telling us that Mary has chosen wiser. She has chosen to listen to Him and receive His instruction with gladness and gratefulness.
In response to God’s teaching, which attitude do you relate to most? Are you defiant? Following others’ teaching? Are you hungry like Mary? Maybe it’s none of these observed five but my prayer is that we all would become hungrier for God’s teaching and we would be found living like Him as we take time to learn at His feet.