One Thing Is Necessary
Luke 10:41-42 (ESV) -- But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
What is the first inclination of your heart when you wake up each day? Do you begin working through the list of tasks and responsibilities you need to accomplish? Do you get a head start on your work, check emails, scroll social media, and start scratching off your to-do list? Or do you take a moment to pray, listen to God through His Word, and fix your heart on the Lord?
Our passage today reminds us that at every moment we need to know what is most required of us in that moment. We see a story in the Gospel of Luke that shows Jesus explaining this through a pair of very different sisters. We read, “But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’”
The context of this passage is that Mary and Martha are sisters that are welcoming Jesus into their home. Martha is running around the home doing her errands to make sure everything is perfect. Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet. Martha is upset about this. She’d like to be at Jesus’ feet too, but there is so much to do. But Jesus doesn’t make Mary join her. He chastises Martha for choosing the wrong thing.
He tells her that she is anxious and troubled about many things, but only one thing is necessary. What is that one thing? To be fully present with Jesus. He is God in the flesh. He is among them in their home. The focus should be Him, not the tasks. Mary knows this and chooses the good portion. He will not refuse her from having it. It is Martha that needs to readjust her priorities and perception. She needs to see that seeking Jesus is the most important thing in that moment.
Every day we have choices like this. There are times and places where we need to choose the right thing in that situation. We need to prioritize giving time and energy to our relationship with the Lord. Not every moment is the right time to have a Bible study and extended prayer time. When you’re at work or school, the priority is doing your job or listening to your teacher. But our lives need to have built in rhythms and routines where we can sit at Jesus’ feet like Mary, because it is only by doing this that we can be fully strengthened and wise to do the other things we need to do in other moments. Jesus said “one thing is necessary.” What is that? Knowing Christ and walking with Him.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is Martha upset at Mary in this story?
- What does this situation compare to in your life?
- How can we apply this passage to our lives? What things does it make you think about?
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