“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Can you imagine a greater privilege than to get to cook and serve a meal to Jesus and His disciples? The queen of New Testament hospitality, Martha of Bethany, was probably aquiver with excitement over this opportunity. She wanted it to be just right. But she needed some help and her sister Mary was nowhere to be found . . . until Martha went into the main part of the house and saw her sister sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to Him.
Martha’s complaint to Jesus over her sister’s lack of help prompts one of the most radical statements spoken by Jesus. If we allow His words to sink into our lives, we will be forever changed. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Then He pointed to what Mary was doing as the one thing.
We don’t know about your lives, but ours are very busy with many things that seem needed or necessary. Look at our calendars and you’ll find many things that we think are important and should be done. But we must assume that the Lord of Creation knows what He’s talking about and that in the midst of our horizontal activity only one thing is truly essential.
What amazes us is the reality of the “one thing” Mary was engaged in. She wasn’t really doing anything! She was simply being with Jesus and preferring this to everything else she could have been occupied with on that particular day. But Jesus gently tells us that being with Him is the one thing we should commit ourselves to— above everything else.
What is your priority today? Jesus points us from a horizontal lifestyle that focuses on needs, people, calendars, budgets, and a seemingly endless list of “important” activities toward a vertical posture that fixes our eyes on His love, purpose and presence and soaks in all that He is . . . just as Mary of Bethany has taught us.
Lord Jesus, how I long to sit at Your feet and listen. Help me to turn from busyness and self to look to You. In the midst of serving You and loving You, I want to be with You. I need Your help to keep my priorities based on Your desires for me. I lay down my life this day and choose to fix my eyes on You.
–Adapted from Vertical with Jesus: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount. Prayer Points
Praise our God, who is unfailing in love and great in compassion (Psalm 51:1-2). Give thanks for the forgiveness of all your past, present, and future sins through Jesus’ death 2,000 years ago! Confess that your sin has been against God himself (51:3-5). Commit to the full integrity of having God’s truth and wisdom in the inner recesses of your heart (51:6). Ask God for full cleansing, purity, joy, and gladness (51:7-9).
Pray for the integrity and understanding of your church’s leaders. Ask God to give them effectiveness in equipping you to lead people to God’s forgiveness and righteousness (51:13-14).
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