The Only Necessary Thing

April 04, 2016

If you are a follower of Christ, you want all that you can experience of God and His kingdom...and there is more than you can think of or imagine.

But how do we access this? It is possible for a believer to live a meager life, missing the best parts of what God intended. To be spiritually emaciated, even when the bountiful table of God’s presence is just a choice away.

Notice the illustration in Bethany…

Luke 10

  38      Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.

  39      She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.

  40      But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.”

  41      But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things;

  42      but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”


Martha's problem? She was distracted, pure and simple, which means ""drawn away."" This is so easy for us that it is almost unconscious. The world is frantically busy, our flesh is sinfully weak, and the devil is aggressively throwing every distraction our way to pull us away from simple, pure devotion to Jesus Christ. From focus and attention and time with Him.

The results of a life starved of Christ are tragic. Like Martha, we become angry, whining, petulant, self-pitying when we miss the best part.

A Christian who is not spending time with the Master is a weak, sad mess, who looks very similar to a lost man but bears the name of Christ. And this is the worst testimony to a watching world.


God intends to show us the contrast and Martha’s sister, Mary, illustrates the blessed contrast. She was ""sitting at the Lord's feet, listening to His word."" Jesus would not visit their home too many times in his brief three years, but Mary would seize these moments as the most important opportunities. Look at her posture (“sitting at his feet”), which indicates humility and hunger. Look at her focus—completely ignoring all the rest except the Master. Undistracted.

For us, this is designed to show us that we must seize daily, extended times in the presence of Christ. There is simple no substitute for a deliberate time that is completely devoted to reading His Word and praying at His feet. Large segments of time simply listening and communing with Him.

But not only is it this dedicated time, but the constant posture throughout the day of awareness and aggressive pursuit of His presence in everything and every moment of the common day. This is ""prayer without ceasing"" which is a command and, if so, is possible. We can walk in the presence of Christ all day long, in continual communion with Him.

And, according to Jesus, this is the only thing that is essential. It is the “good part” and it will yield something that will never be taken away. It yields eternal results. This is where we receive what matters and lasts. This is what lifts our eyes to the heavens and sets our minds there (Colossians 3) so that we may hear from the Father, and like Jesus, do only the things that He is initiating.


Do not miss this. You can blame your schedule, your job, your family, but in the end God's evaluation is this: time in His presence is your decision, based on what you think is most valuable. You do what you want to do and you will give account for this one day. You are, as J. Oswald Sanders says, ""Only as close to Christ as you really choose to be.""

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