It’s a week into January, and the New Year sparkle has already started to fade. It only takes a few days to remind us all that we are still sinners in need of a Savior. And because we are sinners, we need to remember that all our resolve, all our good intentions, and all our desires for reform will be pointless if we fail to hit the one goal that matters most.
One Thing is Necessary
Just this morning I read a story in my devotions that re-oriented my priorities. Jesus reminds us that, when push comes to shove, you and I really need one thing more than anything else today.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village.
And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.
And she had a sister called Mary,
who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.
But Martha was distracted with much serving.
And she went up to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?
Tell her then to help me.”
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.”
Do the words of Jesus describe you and me? “You are anxious and troubled about many things.” I’m certain they do, more than we would like to admit. We use busyness as a cloak and a noble excuse, but here Jesus exposes it for what it truly is- an idol. We love our checklists, our goals, our discipline, our efficiency, our timeliness.
But, according to Jesus, “one thing is necessary.” What is it? To sit at the Lord’s feet and listen to His teaching. He is the Savior, He has the words of life, and He alone can give us what we truly need for each day. Spending time with Jesus is not simply another task to add to our checklist. Mary lingers at the feet of Jesus. Have you quieted your heart and listened to His teaching? Nothing else matters more.
One Thing Satisfies
Perhaps part of the reason we make an idol of our busyness is that we like being busy. We enjoy a sense of purpose and accomplishment. It’s not wrong to get a lot done; in fact, when done in faith, getting a lot done can be a God-glorifying endeavor. But getting a lot done will never satisfy you. Getting a lot done will never provide the power you need to overcome your sin today. Getting a lot done may actually destroy your soul by keeping you from the one thing you need most.
Notice the benefit Mary receives from lingering at the feet of Jesus- her “good portion…will not be taken away from her.” Our temporary to-do lists will end up crumpled at that bottom of our trash cans or in a deleted files folder, but not one moment spent with Jesus is ever wasted. When you eat the Bread of Life, you nourish your soul with eternal truth that reaps eternal benefits for your soul.
Instead of succumbing to the idol of busyness, Jesus calls you to soak up soul-satisfying truth that only comes from sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to His teaching. My favorite passage in all the Bible mentions just a few of these benefits- we behold God’s steadfast love; we feast on the Bread of Life; we drink from the Fountain that will never run dry; we see the truth illuminated by the Light of the world; we enjoy and seek the love of God poured out on us.
How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light do we see light.
Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your righteousness to the upright of heart!
So, whatever you do today and this year, make sure you take time every day to sit at the feet of Jesus. And don’t make it yet another chore- listen, linger, delight. One thing is necessary, and I pray you choose the good portion which will not be taken away from you.