The One Thing Needful (Weekly Refreshment)


38Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40But 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.’ 41But the Lord answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her,’” (Luke 10:38-42; NASB).

One prominent lament among many of the great thinkers in our age is that we have become a generation of consumers as opposed to producers. Rather than asking how we might contribute to society, many today prefer to ask, "What can I get from society?" In this vein, we can almost universally echo the sentiment of President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” In many respects, this admonition is sorely needed in our time.

There are many, however, that have heeded this call and oriented their minds to think along the same terms in regard to their relationship to God. We don’t want to be consumers only, so we ask, “What can I do for my God?” The problem with this thinking is when one’s idea of the Christian life is solely consumed with the producer mentality. As children of God, we have the privilege of being served by the Lord of the feast. We need not weary ourselves to make things just right for Him. The glory of the Christian’s status before God is that Christ Himself has made all things right.

Consider the story of Mary and Martha. As Christ comes into Bethany in His journey toward Jerusalem, He is invited into the home of Mary and Martha. Mary, having been welcomed as a disciple of Christ (a revolutionary opportunity for a woman in Christ’s day), gleefully takes her place among the disciples at the Master’s feet. Meanwhile, Martha busies herself with service.

Throughout the narrative, Christ is repeatedly called Lord, the implication being that He Himself is the Lord of the feast. We have seen this scene before. Christ has already demonstrated His ability to serve great multitudes of people as the great Host of the feast (Luke 9:12-27; Matthew 15:32-39). He does not require Martha to weary herself to serve the 72. He Himself has served 5,000 besides women and children. The people will not go hungry. What ought to be of primary concern for Martha is the part that Mary has chosen: listening to Christ’s word.

As you find yourself caught up in the busyness of the week and, perhaps, begin to reconsider whether or not you have time to gather with the people of God and receive His word, ask yourself what is most needful for your soul. The poor will always be with you (John 12:8). Your labors will be there tomorrow. Every day has its own trouble. The world wearies themselves chasing after the treasures of the earth. As a disciple of God, you have the privilege to gather with His disciples and be refreshed by His word. What is most needful?