But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Many things vie for our time and attention, but only one thing is necessary. There are many things to be concerned or worried about, but only one thing should take precedence. There are a multitude of things to focus on and pay attention to, but only one is absolutely vital. Mary had chosen this one thing, and so Martha could, too. Martha had been so consumed in her life by these many small things, but there was only one important thing she needed to focus on with that same attention and care she gave to serving, and that was to focus on Jesus and His Word.
We, too, can choose this part, this thing we’ll never lose—not a list of accomplishments or tasks completed or work done, but a solid, intimate relationship with our Savior and a deep knowledge of Him and His Word that will serve us well wherever our lives may take us. It is a life built with Jesus Christ as the foundation. Whatever else we have or whatever else we do, Christ must be the overarching focus, the frame that everything else fits inside. To look upon Jesus must be the priority. To seek Him out must be done before everything else is done.
Sometimes it seems there are a million things to do in a day, and we may be tempted to jump into them without a thought of God and His Word. But let’s put things in the proper perspective. Let’s choose the needful over those other things. Let’s spend time with the Lord first and foremost. When we choose time with God, when we make a commitment to hearing from His Word, then everything else will fall into place after the necessary thing is tended to. So let’s hear what Jesus would say above all other voices. Let’s spend time with Him above all other uses of time. Let’s know Him and seek to know Him more than knowing anyone or anything else.
It was so evident in Mary’s life—when she sought Jesus when her brother was dying, when she anointed Him before His death—that Jesus was everything to her. And it was evident in Martha’s life that Jesus mattered to her, but sometimes she let other things get in the way. Sometimes her priorities were misplaced, and these things became burdens to her instead of blessings. The work is important and must be done, but we must spend time at Jesus’ feet, or else we won’t be equipped and enabled to go forth in His power, with His heart, with His perspective, and it becomes meaningless busywork instead of God-honoring service. But when God is at the center of our lives, He will be at the center of everything we do, as well.