Only one thing is necessary…
Isn’t that beautiful?
Discovering or learning how to do one thing is much more manageable than trying to master many things.
If Jesus were to tell you that only one thing is necessary, wouldn’t you want to know what that one thing is?
Wouldn’t you want to devote the rest of your existence to it?
Wouldn’t you orient your life around it?
Wouldn’t you prize it above everything else?
Wouldn’t you make it the focal point of your being?
Jesus told these very words — “only one thing is necessary” — to a woman who was beaten down by worry and distraction.
While traveling with His disciples, Jesus chose to pause from ministry and relax in the home of two sisters, Mary and Martha. When reading this story, you can’t but help to get the impression that Martha was excited by the prospect of having Jesus in her home. Immediately, she went into action and began to serve Jesus and His companions. Her sister, Mary, however, took a much different approach.
Rather than serve, Mary chose to sit.
While Martha was busy and distracted, Mary was enraptured and enthralled.
Two sisters had two different reactions to the presence of God. Both saw an opportunity. One opportunity was motivated by worry, the other was motivated by love.
Martha chose to serve.
Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to His every word.
Serving isn’t wrong. It’s a good thing. But it’s what motivates it that matters most. Worry is a terrible master. It doesn’t add to anything; rather, it subtracts (see Matthew 6:27).
In frustration, Martha questioned Jesus, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” (Luke 10:40)
Mary was not Martha’s problem. Instead, it was worry and distraction.
Jesus replied by saying, “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)
This is a story about priorities.
Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet.
It’s not completing your ‘to do’ list that makes you fruitful or effective; it’s intimacy with God — it’s an abiding relationship with Jesus where I allow myself to get lost in Him.
Worry and distraction was robbing Martha of many things. She didn’t have peace. She was bothered.
Through intimacy with Jesus, God builds something in us that worry isn’t able to steal. This is why Jesus said of Mary choosing the good part, “it shall not be taken away from her.”
What God builds in us through relationship with Him becomes a force against what’s going on outside of us. The peace inside of me suddenly becomes a weapon against all that seeks to unnerve me.
Only one thing is necessary…
Choose today to sit at Jesus’ feet. Unplug. Turn everything off. Learn the art of living on every word that proceeds from His mouth. Don’t let worry or distraction rob from you the daily bread God wants to give you today.
Intimacy is never wasted. It’s the one thing He desires to have with us and it’s the reason for all fruitfulness.
- Brian Connolly, Itinerant Minister & Author