You probably know the story pretty well. Jesus shows up to his friends’ house for a visit. Martha runs off and begins preparing the meal in the kitchen. Mary goes and listens to Jesus. Martha gets mad, and starts complaining to Jesus. Instead of agreeing, Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…”
I think I’ve probably heard this story over a hundred times. That’s not to mention times it’s come up in conversations such as, “Well, there goes ‘Martha’ again.” Or, “I sure do wish I could be like Mary more and just sit at Jesus’ feet.”
So when I began to read this story this morning I almost just skimmed right though it thinking, “Been there, read that, keep on going.” But something caught my attention. A four word phrase:
“one thing is needed”
“What is that one thing?” I wondered.
Well, Jesus of course.
And I, again, went back to thinking about the many lessons/sermons I’ve heard, and books I’ve read talking about how we just need to sit at Jesus’ feet.
But today, I had a different train of thought with this story. Go with me here for a minute. So, it’s kind of obvious that the “one thing” is Jesus right. So he’s saying, “I am the only thing you need.”
I thought about it maybe as an invitation to Mary almost of saying, “Okay Mary, I’m all that’s needed to get everything done. So, right come sit with me in the living room for a while so we can attend to what needs to happen here. Then, when we’re done here, I’ll still the be the “One Thing” needed to help get everything done in the kitchen. And then, when we finish there, the beds need to be made up, right. Yes, even in making the beds, I’ll be the “One Thing” needed there as well. Just follow me. I’m all that’s needed and I’ll show you how you can help me accomplish the tasks before us.”
Yes, it seems that there are definitely good lessons to be learned about simply sitting at Jesus’ feet instead of being “worried” and “upset” about the many things to be done. But maybe, just maybe, if we just realized that in the midst of those “many things,” Jesus was more than enough, we wouldn’t be so worried and upset anyway.
So as we head towards Christmas next week and the “many things” start to become “TOO many things” remember to pause and turn to the “One” who is more than enough for all our “things.” Ask him what the next step is in today… and then the next… and then the next … and then the next. And soon, we realize that the many things have been accomplished as we just focused on the One Thing most needed.
Only One thing is needed.
Choose what is better.
It will not be taken from you.
(I sure hope you were able to follow my thought process there.)