What’s the One Thing?

One Thing Alone

Dwell Deeply. Love Recklessly. Live Fully.

But wait… I thought you said one thing. That’s three!

Quite the dilemma I know. That’s what I thought when I read Jesus’ kind aside to Martha:

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, NLT)

One thing.

But Jesus, what about serving food and washing feet, visiting inmates and counting blessings?

One thing.

Ok, but it would have been nice if you had straight-out told Martha what “one thing” was needed, instead of simply saying, “Mary’s got it.” How can I know what “one thing” you’re referring to when the Bible is full of commands to love my neighbor and share the Gospel and live in a way that pleases You?

And then I found this:

One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
(Psalm 27:4, NIV)

One thing. The one thing Mary was doing that Martha was not?

Mary sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.
(Luke 10:39, NLT)

Jesus told Martha only one thing was needed because dwelling in the presence of the Almighty produces cataclysmic kingdom changes that start with me, most evident in the way I love and live.

I’ve often focused on being a more loving person. The result? I soon lose my temper with the grocery store clerk, keep a list of my husband’s shortcomings or act inconsiderately toward a coworker. As well-intentioned as I may be, I fall short of my lofty goal because love comes from God, not from trying harder (1 John 4:7).

I’ve also focused on living fully, more times than I care to admit (New Year’s resolutions, anyone?). I shoot images of budding flowers on my camera’s macro setting. I sign up for a triathlon and complete the first two weeks of training. I check off the last item on my to-do list. I pay a day’s wage on a gourmet meal. I post a witty comment on my social media site. I do so many things, hoping to feel fulfilled, only to crumble in bed at the end of the day, a total failure. That feeling of “living fully” eludes me, because it’s not found in this world (Mk 8:36).

But when I purpose in my heart to dwell deeply in the presence of the Lord, gazing at His beauty and seeking Him with all my heart (Psalm 27:4), He does something incredible! He begins to transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ, so that it is no longer I who love, but Christ who loves through me, not I who live, but Christ who lives through me. Only then will I joyfully love others regardless of the cost, (John 15:13); only then will I take hold of the “life that is truly life.” (1 Tim 6:17-19)

So really, it is one thing. One thing that will lead to many, many good things. (Matt 6:33) And it won’t be taken away from us.

I’d love your company as we learn what the pursuit of One Thing Alone looks like in the nitty-gritty of everyday life. Will you join me?