The One Thing that’s Essential

trust in Jesus Christ
There was a time in my life when I would have confidently claimed that Jesus Christ was the one thing I desired more than anything else while being blinded to a host of other competing affections at work in my life.

Sadly and subtly, we can become more consumed with the good gifts God has graciously given us than the One who gave up everything to offer us new life. We may inadvertently begin to worship things like the image of a perfect marriage, well behaved children, a fulfilling career, a trim and fit body,  good health, comfort, life long financial security, etc. The list has no end. As John Calvin once said, “Our hearts are idol factories.”

You are likely familiar with the biblical account of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and the tension that developed between she and her sister Mary. Luke 10:39-42 records that Mary sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching, but Martha was distracted with much serving.

I totally get that Martha wanted to make things perfect for Jesus. Early in our marriage I would often find myself getting overwhelmed with all the details of preparing for guests or getting everything done on my “to do” list. Yet, here was Jesus in the living room offering words of eternal life, while Martha was busy fussing in the kitchen!

No matter what season of life we are in I have learned that, while pressures and distractions may change, they never go away. There will always be sin that tempts us, expectations others have of us, and things we expect of ourselves! In any given day, depending on where God has placed us, the demands of life will follow us; challenging jobs, carpools, phone calls, text messages, Internet, TV, running errands, tending weed producing gardens, shopping, cooking meals, training and caring for selfish children, washing dirty clothes, cleaning up never ending messes, exercising, doing things  other people demand of us. While all of these can be done for the glory of God, we must be careful not to let the  tyranny of the urgent prevent us from doing what cannot be taken away, things that will matter for eternity.

Perhaps to Martha’s surprise, Jesus responded; “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” (Luke 10:41-42).

I love the way Jesus gently answered Martha’s complaint about Mary, knowing that she fully expected him to call her sister out. I appreciate that He neither rebuked Mary nor told Martha that what she was doing was unimportant. Rather, the Creator and Ruler of heaven and earth pointed to the one thing that mattered most. What Jesus wanted Martha to understand was this: there will always be things to be anxious, worried, and troubled about in this life – which is exactly why seeking the Lord above all else is the one thing that’s essential! When we surrender ourselves fully to His love, He will empower us to serve and love others even in hard places with a  joy that brings glory to Him.

Mary chose to lay aside other good and important things to be with Jesus, thus receiving words of eternal life from Him.

  • Mary chose being with Jesus over impressing Him with her service for Him.
  • She chose sitting at His feet over making her sister happy.
  • She chose laying aside other important things so she wouldn’t miss knowing her Savior.

What is keeping you from choosing to sit at the Lord’s feet and letting His Word convict, teach, revive and refresh your soul?  

Are you distracted with much serving, thinking that He will love you more if you are busy doing things for Him, as if you could earn his love?

Are you anxious or preoccupied with the troubles and cares of your life?

Are you fearful that God’s Word might expose sin in your heart and hypocrisy in your life?

Are you holding onto things that are keeping you from experiencing the faith, freedom, and fruitfulness that God desires to give you?

Jesus beckons us to bring all our sin and shame and come to Him, confessing, repenting, and laying our burdens at His feet. He invites us to stop our ceaseless running, using busyness as an excuse for disobedience. He reminds us that our daily choices have eternal repercussions. Finally, He promises that when we forsake other things for Christ, He will give us His perfect life of peace, bought by His precious blood. And as we learn to sit at His feet, we will begin to realize that this is where we really belong; in His presence, where our joy is made complete.

The gift of salvation, which breaks the power of sin in our life is free, yet it will only be found in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the One we must continue to run to for victory every moment of every day. As our love for Him grows, our affection for other things will lessen. The fears we have will lose their death grip on us.  The chains of past failures that have brought shame and guilt will fall away. To all who desire to know and obey Him above all else; He will give the peace, joy, and rest we have been looking for in all the wrong places.

Just one thing. Jesus. When you have Him, you have everything.

Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you,


2 thoughts on “The One Thing that’s Essential

  1. I very much appreciate this blog on “the one essential thing.” I printed it out and included it in my Prayer Notebook, to read in a sequential schedule, along with other papers, including the previous blog on “eating properly” for God’s purposes.
    Thank you for your writings, Linda, and for your example of living for God’s glory!

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