Only One Thing Is Necessary

April 9th, 2021 – Friday Later Evening

“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, ‘Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.’ But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘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 10:38-42

Living by the power of the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is the life that you and I have been redeemed and called to in Christ. It is the most satisfying and purposeful way there is, and those who come to believe in Jesus find His life to be to the full because of His indwelling. Yet, we often miss out on the richness of His life and the guidance of His Spirit because we do not rest in His presence and wait on His leading.

The above story is the perfect example of this: Mary and Martha, presumably the sisters of Lazarus, both had the opportunity to serve Jesus and be with Jesus in this passage. Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet in order to hear what He was saying. Martha, on the other hand, was too busy with all of her serving that she actually asked Jesus to interfere in a family matter by commanding Mary to come and help her. [It is important to note that the word used for “preparations” or “serving” is the same word used for the right kind of serving that believers are to do. In line with that, serving was not issue in this passage (it is encouraged elsewhere); it was becoming overly-preoccupied with it that was.]

Jesus’ reply to Martha is a reply to all of us who have trouble resting and waiting on the Lord. Jesus told Martha that she was worried (same word for anxious) and bothered (troubled in mind or disquieted) about many things, while only one thing was necessary. That one thing was what Mary had chosen – to be with and listen to Jesus. Did you get that? Instead of being anxious and bothered about many things, Martha should have been focused on Jesus – being close to Him and listening to what He has to say.

I don’t know about you, but as I was working on writing this devotional earlier (I’m back at it now), I was convicted. I am busy with many things and concerned about many things and people, but I often am lacking in my listening to and resting in Jesus department. Instead of my service flowing from sweet time with Jesus, my sweet time with Jesus can be neglected or put as secondary to service. This reveals a sad lack of understanding/remembrance as it relates to the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit! It also explains why it is that I can be consumed with concern or anxiety over this thing or that thing – even a godly service or genuine concern – and miss out on the best and only necessary thing that brings peace, rest, joy, and purpose.

How about you? Are you struggling to serve? Are you beset by worry or anxiety? Are you weary? Are you lacking in satisfaction or purpose? Let us no longer waste the precious time that we have been entrusted with by spending it on worthless worry, empty service, or a million other self-centered things. Instead, may we always look to Jesus and put our confidence in Him – in our hearts, minds, bodies, and schedule – and allow God to fill us afresh with His powerful Spirit. This is truly the only necessary thing in all of creation. The question is: Do we really believe that?