One thing is needed

One thing is needed! #FiveMinuteFriday and the word prompt is Need. Join others and see what they had to say about this word!

But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-42 NKJV.

I have often been intrigued by the story of Mary and Martha, especially when I was younger. I didn’t understand why the Lord rebuked her when she was serving Him and those that were with Him. In my “Martha mind” I thought, “Well, somebody had to do it! Who was going to fix the drinks and the dinner? Who was going to clean up?” And there was that Martha mentality.  Martha was worried about so many things that she had anxiety! You can almost hear it in her voice when she says, “Lord, don’t you care?!”

We all know the effect that stress and anxiety has on society today. We do not know how to relax; we do not know how to rest. We certainly don’t know how to sit in the presence of God and drink in His presence.  She was hurrying around making sure everyone had everything they needed. Martha was worried about so many things that she was loaded with stress! The Bible said she was “cumbered about much serving”, it means she was distracted.

“…And she (Martha) went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” Luke 10:40 ASV.  Can you imagine going to Jesus and ordering Him around?! Martha was passionate to be sure. But Mary chose to sit at the Master’s feet. It wasn’t that she was lazy. It seems that she had been helping her sister. But when Jesus came, Mary knew what was important and it was not in the kitchen. Those things could wait, she knew one thing was needed and it was at the feet of the Master.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.

One interpretation suggests Martha wasn’t just preparing rice and beans. She was going “all out” as we say. If she had kept it simple she could have prepared dinner AND sat and listened to the Master! He was saying there were other things more important than what He was going to eat and drink that day.  Do not let the important keep you from the needed; take time to sit at His feet and hear His Word!

So what did the Lord mean when He said that what Mary had chosen would not be taken away from her? Mary had chosen the eternal, the Word of God! She had chosen to sit at His feet and listen to what He had to say. She was interested in the Kingdom, in the eternal. She was laying up treasure in the world to come. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 NIV.

Shortly before Jesus was to be crucified, He was at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus again. Guess what Martha was doing? “So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.” John 12:2.  This is where Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with the costly perfume. Martha prepared a lovely dinner for perhaps her last time. I love her because she was doing what she did best! And this was the time to do it. It was time to serve the One that she loved and called “the Christ, the Son of God”.

There is a time for everything, a time for serving, a time for listening, a time for praying and hearing the Word of God. We must make sure we keep our priorities in order. If serving is something you do best, then serve with all of your heart; but don’t let it get in the way of your quality time with the Savior. Do you excel at singing? Wonderful! Sing with all of your heart and sing unto the Lord! But if you sing for Him, and neglect to spend time with Him, then you are fooling yourself. You have not chosen the needful thing.

Those are just a couple of examples of thousands of things that we can get cumbered with or distracted by. Let us not be like Martha in the kitchen, but more like Mary in the living room, sitting at the feet of Jesus.

For the kingdom

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5 thoughts on “One thing is needed

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Loved this post,and I have always treasured the story of Mary and Martha…and i have a distinct sympathy to the latter.

    Are you familiar with Kipling’s poem, “The Sons Of Martha”? I hope you don’t mind that I reproduce it below.

    The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
    But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
    And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
    Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

    It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
    It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
    It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
    Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

    They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
    Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
    Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
    That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

    They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
    He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
    Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
    And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

    To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
    They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
    The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
    And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

    They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
    They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
    As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
    Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

    Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
    Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
    Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
    But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

    And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
    They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
    They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
    They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

  2. Deirdra

    I love the story of Mary and Martha. As a matter of fact, my sister-in-law and I would call ourselves that….well….we both were Martha! I can relate to Martha’s serving and stressing to get everything done and ending up sacrificing what is important. But buried in my heart is Mary. The desire to listen and learn more about the Lord. To sit at His feet….what a wonderful needful thing that is!
    Thank you for reminding me of that. It blessed my heart!

    1. Candace Jo

      Hi Deirdra! I think most women have a bit of Martha in them, it is in our nature to want to get everything done and make sure everyone is attended too. It is hard for us to settle down for the important things. But when we make ourselves take the time, oh the added benefits of sitting at His feet!! Good to hear from you friend!!

  3. Michelle

    amazing! sometimes it seems so easy to get caught up and be so presumptious thinking we are doing what is “needful” when in fact we are not…..God help me to be always led by your Spirit and that you are always first.

    1. Candace Jo

      Oh Michelle you are so right! I want to be doing that one needful thing! Love you friend!

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