Jim Burns Homeword Daily Devotional for Parenting and Christian Family

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The Harder You Try - Homeword - August 4

The Harder You Try

This devotional was written by Kelly McFadden

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. —Ephesians 2:8-10

A few years ago, I was given an old set of golf clubs and told to learn the sport. Today, I’m an average golfer, making some good shots and some bad. There was one day, not long ago, where if you had been watching me play you would have thought I had never picked up a club in my life. I kept trying harder and harder. Sadly, like almost every shot that day, each swing seemed to send the ball in the wrong direction. The harder I tried, the worse I got.

The book of Luke records an encounter with Jesus and two sisters, Mary and Martha. Jesus was visiting their home and Martha was busy doing chores and preparing dinner in order to serve her guest. While she did this, her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to all Jesus taught. The more Martha worked, the harder she tried, the more frustrated and angry she became until she couldn't take it anymore!

She pointed out her sister’s laziness, hoping Jesus would tell Mary to get up and help, only to be disappointed when he commended Mary and called her choice worthy.

What are you doing to please the Lord in your life? Putting up the appearance of a perfect home? Volunteering at the local soup kitchen? Buying gifts for those in need? These are wonderful ways to give ourselves and serve the Lord, but don’t get caught in the trap of always trying to do things for God only to miss out on the opportunities to be with him.

We plan, work and create trying to “do more”, only to be disappointed. God cares more about your devotion than about your résumé. He cares more about your attitude than all the gold stars you have earned. Trying too hard to work for the Lord will only result in frustration.

Take some time today to evaluate where you are in life and what God would have you to do. Be sure to take regular time to sit at His feet. Commit to stop doing simply for doing’s sake. Realize that before you can do God’s work, you must first be His person. There’s no better way to become all God intends for you than to spend time with Him.

Make this your highest priority and everything else will fall into place.


1. Mary and Martha both loved Jesus. When you think through their story, what was Jesus really trying to show Martha?

2. Who are you more like, Mary or Martha? Why?


John 6:27-29; Luke 10:38-42; Romans 9:31-33

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