Monday, September 3, 2018

The One Thing Needed

But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).

As Jesus moved to the climax of His ministry, He spent time at the home of Lazarus in Bethany, right outside of Jerusalem. One day when Jesus was there, Lazarus’ sister Martha was busy preparing a meal for the men, while her sister, Mary, “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (Luke 10:39). Martha was upset about all the preparation that had to be done, and said to Jesus, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” (v. 40).

Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” We should note here, as we have in previous lessons in this series, that the repetition of Martha’s name indicates intimacy and affection. Jesus gives her a slight rebuke, but it is couched in warmth and love.

Jesus tells Martha that at this crisis point in history, there is only one thing that is urgently needed. Remember that Jesus’ disciples were not allowed to go home to bury their dead or even to say goodbye, so urgent was the hour (Luke 9:57–62). Just so, at this juncture in history, it was far more valuable to spend time with Jesus than to take care of all the domestic duties. Mary had a chance to hear words from Jesus, and that was more important on that day than anything else. Martha should have dropped everything, too, and pressed into the kingdom.

We cannot afford to be casual about the kingdom. We cannot afford to let the press of daily life keep us from the kingdom. There is a time to prepare a meal and to do the dishes, but not when Jesus is calling.

Jesus adds, “And it will not be taken away from her” (v. 42). What Mary heard would be hers forever. No one could take it from her. This is one of the great benefits of being attentive to the Word of God: It is yours forever.

Is the press of circumstances keeping you from focused time with the Word and with Jesus in prayer? As you read this devotion, do you feel rushed, or have you “forced” a time into your schedule when you can be a Mary instead of a Martha?