Mulling Over The Weekend – What's My 'One Thing'?
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:17-21)
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she 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.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
These were the texts that stood out for me this weekend. There are several “one thing” passages in the New Testament (more are below), and my meditation this week is attempting to place myself in Martha’s shoes. See, I get jealous sometimes of what other people get to do, while I’m busy doing whatever it is I’m doing (making up for the idiocy of my early twenties? treading water until I can afford such-and-such? collecting enough books around me to protect me from my own inadequacies?). I need to hear Jesus say to me, in the midst of my frazzled frustration, “One thing is necessary.” Of course, I’d appreciate it if he then told me what that one thing was.
If you notice in the episode from Luke above, He doesn’t tell Martha that she needs to quit doing what she is doing and imitate Mary. This passage is used to confuse a lot of righteous women who read Proverbs 31 and think, “That lady looks a lot like Martha! She’s not sitting around listening, she’s up working from before til’ after!” I think Jesus is saying something about our unhealthy tendency to measure others by our own standards and talents and gifts. The group needs to eat, after all, and Luke 8:1-3 at least suggests that Jesus doesn’t bust out the bread-and-fishes very often (it’s a sign, not a vending machine).
And Paul, in his masterful 1 Cor 12 exposition of the teaching of Jesus, explodes the idea that every part of the body of Christ has the same “one thing.” Should a hand be upset that it doesn’t see very well? Should the eye get a hearing aid? Of course not. So I’m listening from the kitchen this week, as it were, keeping up with my work while still looking for a word in the midst of my life. Because there are a lot of things I’d like to do, and I’m not getting any younger.
Our mission team just returned from Mission Lazarus in Honduras – I could be a missionary
Holly Hill trusted me to preach while our preaching minister was in Honduras – I want to preach
CS Lewis says, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – I want to write and teach
What is the “one thing” I lack? Is it one of these?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
I don’t know, but I am knocking. I hope for the day when I, like these two brothers below, know that one thing.
Have you found your ‘one thing’?
in HIS love,
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:24-25)
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. (Philippians 3:13-16)