By Jennifer Duncan
Several years ago, my husband and I were hosting a Bible study at our church, with a retired missionary who had been a mentor to us both. I was excited that “Bob” was there, eager for others to benefit from his wisdom, and concerned for everything to be well-prepared for the evening. Beforehand, I was scurrying around preparing the food, setting up the coffee service, double-checking my “to do” list, and being a bit frantic.
Bob was watching me, and I paused long enough to notice his small, knowing smile. “Martha, Martha,” is all he said. But I instantly knew what he meant. He was referencing the story of Martha, and her sister Mary, in Luke 10, and I knew that Bob had gently pointed to my misplaced priorities.
In the Luke 10 story, Jesus is the honored guest, and Martha is the frantic hostess. Martha complains that she is doing all the work of serving, and Mary is not helping! Instead, Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, soaking up His teaching, His love, and His presence.
Jesus, responds with these words, “Martha, Martha, you are concerned about many things, but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the best thing, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
So, what is the “one thing”…the only necessity for each of our lives? Is it religious ritual, done out of a sense of duty but devoid of a real heart-connection? Is it seeking to elevate myself, so that I just feel good about my own choices? Is it pleasing other people, so that life is smooth and comfortable?
The “one thing” Jesus commends is none of these things. All of these can be, and inevitably, will be “taken away” from us, in some disappointing way. Jesus calls us to focus on what cannot be taken away. He calls us to all-out, full-speed-ahead, total and absolute devotion to Him, the answer to our every need.
New Year’s resolutions almost always relate to time commitments, so as we think about what we want for 2018, let’s be very clear. Jesus is the only relationship, the only priority, and the only time commitment, that is truly worthy of our complete focus. He must be at the top of our “to do” lists…every day, without exception.
Are you taking time daily to sit at Jesus’s feet…to look into His face and really hear Him? Psalm 16:11 reminds us that “in His presence, is fullness of joy.” And this is true because it is in His presence that we receive the peace of His clear direction, and the strength to walk in obedience.
Jesus is the “one thing” we really need, for the new year, and every year. He is the “one thing” that carries us safely, all the way into eternity.
Jennifer is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is mom to two grown (twin) sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and four granddaughters. Her late husband, John, pastored two churches in Barry County, Missouri, and one in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Jennifer serves in teaching, music and lay counseling through her church, Arnhart Baptist Church, Purdy, Missouri. She also enjoys leading retreats and Bible studies for women.