Back in the nineteenth century, British polo players asked their tailors to sew extra buttons on their collars so they wouldn’t flap in the wind when they rode. But it was a man named John Brooks who capitalized on that idea and made the first button-down shirt in 1896, bringing comfort and convenience to men around the world.
The top button of a button-down shirt is important—not only for dress codes but also as a helpful picture of our spiritual lives. Getting the first button right allows us to get everything else right.
In Luke 10 we read the story of Mary and Martha, two sisters who passionately loved Jesus and learned an important lesson about seeking God first:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.
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!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38–42).
Martha learns the “one thing” Jesus wants for all of us: to seek His presence. When we get that one thing right—aka, the first button—then everything else will fall into place. It’s not a one-time decision but a lifelong journey where God teaches us habits for spiritual growth so that we might become more like Jesus.
In today’s message, I’ll show you six tried-and-true disciplines that have helped Christians grow for generations.
In late February, I had the privilege of celebrating the graduation of 400 students in Ghana, Africa, through Moody School of the Bible. This is a unique two-year certificate program in the Twi language that helps train ministry leaders through a ministry called Theovision. While there, I was able to speak at a vibrant church in Ghana, visit a remote village to participate in a Bible-listening session, and meet some amazing people while there (along with enjoying some delicious food). Thank you for your prayers and partnership on behalf of these Christian brothers and sisters!
Mark Jobe serves as president of Moody Bible Institute and host of Moody Radio's Bold Steps. He is the author of Unstuck: Out of Your Cave into Your Call (Moody Publishers). He is also the founding pastor of New Life Community Church, a Chicago-based ministry with 27 locations throughout Chicago. Mark earned a diploma from Moody in 1984, a master’s degree from Moody Theological Seminary, and a doctorate in transformational leadership from Bakke Graduate University. He and his wife, Dee, have three adult children.
Bold Steps with Dr. Mark Jobe takes you on the path to freedom and authenticity in Christ. With candid, topical teaching from God’s Word, Dr. Jobe offers simple gospel messages with the power to transform your life.