ODJ: magical green stick

April 12, 2013 

READ: Psalm 119:10-32 

There is only one thing worth being concerned about (Luke 10:42).

When the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy was a child, he believed in a magical green stick that could destroy all evil. His lifelong yearning for moral perfection in himself may have grown out of that childish belief. He never found it, yet his writings reveal his acute understanding of human depravity and God’s holiness.

I too am keenly aware of my own failings, so I cringe when people attribute spiritual qualities to me that I know are sadly lacking. When a friend asked me, “Are you a prayer warrior?” I quickly told him, “No, that’s one of the things I struggle with.” He seemed taken aback. I was surprised that he was surprised.

If you’re like me—spiritually lazy, easily distracted and susceptible to the lie that doing is being—welcome to the company of those in need of grace. We know we should pray. But we don’t do it well.

It appears that all the writers of the book of Psalms possessed introspective natures that passionately craved God. Psalm 119 expresses one author’s deep desire for God’s ways and attributes. “I have tried hard to find You,” he sang. “Don’t let me wander from Your commands” (v.10). “I lie in the dust; revive me by Your Word” (v.25). Five times he tells how he “meditates” on God’s instruction (vv.23,27,48,52,117).

I don’t often sit in silence and ponder God. There’s too much noise, so many ‘demands’. Jesus gently admonished another busy person who mistakenly assumed her busyness was the moral choice. “There is only one thing worth being concerned about,” He told Martha. “Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

There is no magical stick that guides us to perfection. The one perfect Person has taken care of that for us, and He welcomes our time. —Tim Gustafson

How have you been susceptible to Mary’s erroneous assumption 
in Luke 10:38-42?
What compels you today? What urgent demands might be damaging your spiritual life?