The One Thing

The One Thing

Two sisters were hosting Jesus and His disciples at their house. You can imagine the excitement. Martha and Mary were friends with the King of all kings, and here He is, sitting in their living room. So how did they handle this opportunity?
Luke 10:39-40 tells us how they behaved. “Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was listening to His teaching. 40 But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving.” Two very different responses to Jesus, and yet both of them love the Lord. Mary is focused on listening to and receiving from Jesus. Martha is “too busy” serving.
Serving is not a bad thing. The Bible says that we should “Serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100:2). It’s just that all of life answers to a ‘first things first’ principal. For example, if you were to serve me without first getting to know me, you might make a beautiful meal, but not knowing that I’m gluten-free, labor to make something I can’t enjoy. Of course, I would appreciate and value your best intentions, but it possibly could frustrate you. Some might feel embarrassed or even angry.
Why? Nobody wants to put their effort into something for nothing. We call that laboring in vain. That’s what sister Martha was doing - laboring in vain. Jesus said this to Martha because she started complaining to Jesus, “Don’t you care that I’m serving all alone?”
Have you ever asked Jesus a stupid question? I have. That’s what we do when we’re laboring in vain, working our own agenda, justifying it by being religious or self-sacrificing - “Don’t you care? Look at what I’m doing! I’m working so hard. I’m sacrificing - me, my, my labors, my suffering!” Oh dear. I know what it’s like to get my eyes off of Jesus, off His sacrifice, and get me-centered. It’s frustrating, futile, and without benefit. Look at how Jesus answered her complaint. “Martha, Martha! You are anxious and troubled about many things; but one thing is needed. Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42)
My friend, Jesus is saying to you today, “One thing is needed.” You can know the “one thing” if you’re listening. Once you know, Jesus says you have the right to choose. Don’t be like Martha. She chose her way of coming to Jesus. Mary chose instead to humble herself and listen. Jesus paid the ultimate price to redeem you and me from sin, sickness, disease, depression, poverty, and all things under the curse. We can’t obey Him if we don’t listen. God said obedience is better than sacrifice, but religious thinking says, my sacrifice is better than Jesus’ sacrifice. Isn’t that absolutely crazy?
Jesus accomplished on the cross what we could never do in a million years. He gave us the “One thing” and it is Salvation in His Name, through His blood. You have the right and privilege to be a child of God in Christ Jesus. Now let that “One thing” sink deep into your heart, be the focus of your life, and power your design.
Jesus forgive me for not listening to You. It’s so easy to fall into the old trap of being busy, busy and just doing, doing. I can’t obey You if I don’t know what You’re saying so right now I turn to the sound of Your voice. Speak to me. Direct me. Help me to break the old habit of just running to the next thing. Give me courage to shut off all outside voices and listen to You. Every day I choose “the good part which will be to my advantage” - Your voice. Thank You Jesus for Your Word in my life. AMEN.

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