Choosing the Good Part
Each year we have students come to Holsby wondering if they have made the right decision. Is studying God’s Word for a whole school year really the best choice? Am I wasting my time? Maybe I should have started my university studies like my best friend did? Everyone comes with a different set of circumstances and with different expectations that have been placed on them by themselves or by others.
At the beginning of each school year, I teach a couple of class hours about Sweden as a country, its culture and some basics of the Swedish language. These hours usually fall at the end of the first week of school. This year while I was preparing to share with the students, I had already heard a couple of students express uncertainty as to whether they should have come to Holsby or not. As I was thinking about this, the phrase “you have chosen the good thing and it will not be taken from you” entered my mind. I knew it was from God’s Word but I couldn’t remember from where. I couldn’t find it, so I had to Google it. (When all else fails, use Google.)
“The Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
The phrase that came to my mind was from the mouth of Jesus, when He commended Mary for having chosen to sit at His feet and listen to His words rather than help her sister Martha with all the practical preparations. Mary chose the good part, to absorb the words of God’s Son and His teaching, and Jesus promised her that what she learned and the Lord whom she knew, could never be taken away from her.
This passage often bothered me in the past, but I think I came to a better understanding of what Jesus meant when I applied it to our students. It wasn’t so much about Jesus reprimanding Martha for working hard (which is what I had gotten stuck on) as it was about Jesus pointing out the eternal blessing we have when we choose Him. Jesus understands that we have practical, mundane things to take care of as humans living on this earth, but Mary had made the best choice when she chose to put those things aside and listen to the Son of God who was visiting in their home. The other things could be taken care of in due time.
I briefly shared with our students at the beginning of class that their choice to set aside a school year to get to know God’s Word and Jesus Himself better was much like Mary’s choice, and that Jesus called that “the good part.” Their careers, degrees, cars and social life will still be waiting for them when they get home. What they will learn at Holsby this year will be with them for the rest of their lives and into eternity – “it can not be taken away from them.”
This isn’t just true for our students but for all of us Jesus followers. Each time we spend time in God’s Word, in prayer or worship, whether by ourselves or in church, we are choosing the good part, a secure investment in our future and beyond.