Only One Thing
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.” - Luke 10:41-42
Many of you have been responding and reaching out during this unique time of worldwide challenge. Over and over, I keep hearing, “how can I help?” It’s so incredibly encouraging to hear people who are laid-off or furloughed, who are seeking to care for others first.
I keep seeing it - the church, the followers of Jesus Christ, being the church - loving and serving the community in Jesus’ name!
But I was reminded of something else today - another story that seems to fit so perfectly this time, it’s as if it’s God prepared it in advance for us!
Jesus is traveling with his disciples, and as he journeys through Bethany, Martha, the hostess with the most-est, the woman with the gift of hospitality, invites him and his friends in. As he is teaching in her home, she busies herself with all of the necessary tasks - last minute cleaning, cooking, decorating. There’s so much to do!
And then she looks over and sees her younger sister… just sitting there and doing nothing.
Anxiety and anger builds to the point that she rebukes Jesus in her own house, begging him to tell Mary to help her out!
Lovingly, Jesus turns to Martha, and lets her know there’s really only one thing that’s necessary right now. Mary has found it, and Jesus won’t take it away from her.
Hospitality is a gift. Caring for our neighbors is part of our mission. But sometimes, what’s really needed, is just for us to sit and do… nothing. Nothing, except for be in the presence of the God of the Universe who wants to pour out love, joy, peace and comfort on us right where we are.
We all have a little bit of Martha in us. Some more than others. For some of us, it’s next to impossible to sit still. But if we never sit still, if we never sit at the feet of Jesus, we’re never going to be able to receive from Him, what we need to do the work we’re doing.
During this time when so many of the normal things we do, even many of the things we do to help each other are just not possible, it’s more than ever the time to do… nothing, except be present before God and allow God to minister to us.
One simple way to almost detox your mind and practice this is to sit quietly, pay attention to your breathing, and to slowly offer up a very simple prayer. The Lord’s Prayer is good. Psalm 23, prayed to God is good. So are a few others, like the prayer of the Tax Collector in Luke 18:13, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” or this prayer of praise I’ve used over the years, adapted from of the angels in Revelation 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come, praise his name forever more.”
Taking time to just sit in quiet prayer and praise of God allows God to minister to us in ways our frantic, busy service doesn’t even allow.
Today, may you find the one thing Jesus is calling you to do.
Welcoming people to Grow in Jesus,