The One Thing

There is a charming story in the gospels. Jesus has come to the home of his friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Martha is exhausting herself with her legitimate responsibilities as a hostess. Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, busily learning the things that only he could teach.

.Jesus, who was the hottest subject of conversation in their town because of his wisdom and power, had no reluctance about teaching a woman. Mary was not going to miss this chance to learn at the feet of the greatest master she would ever meet.

Martha on the other hand was preoccupied with getting the necessary work done. Jesus acknowledges her hard work and was certainly grateful for what she was doing.

When Martha got Jesus attention, she complained about what she perceived as Mary’s laziness. Martha wanted Jesus to tell Mary to come help her. Instead, he told her that Mary had made the better choice.

Then he made a remark to Martha that instructs me. He said “One thing is needful.” What one thing was needful? The answer to that question is important to everyone. I remember a movie [If not the title] in which the rough tough cowboy held up one finger which meant that he had the answer to that question. That one finger held up was one of the key plot lines of the movie. In context of Jesus talking to Martha  listening to the Son of God was the one needful thing.

In the context of my Al-Anon program I am reminded of Step 11 where it says “Praying only for the knowledge of his [God’s] will and the power to carry it out.” My thought base was the Bible growing up and now includes the 12 Steps. So in both of my thought presuppositions , The Bible and the 12 Steps, the “ONE Thing” has to do with knowing and doing God’s will.

If my life is very full, and I feel I have one hundred things to do with the same minute, it helps me to remember that only one thing is needful. I can safely pause to listen to God speak. Then I can do the one thing God is saying to do and leave the other ninety nine distracting things to the care of God.


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