Last sermon we talked about the epidemics of loneliness and anxiety in America.
The Bible offers solid and meaningful explanation of the angst of our human experience – we are communal beings. We are spiritual beings, created for intimate communion with the Spirit who created us and with our neighbors in creation. No man or woman is an island. The effort to find life and identity in our individuality will only lead to restlessness and dissatisfaction.
One of the cures the Bible offers for our angst is the knowledge that only one thing is truly necessary in this life. We see this lesson in Luke 10:38-42.
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.”
In this passage we see what is not necessary. Much serving is not necessary. Fulfilling the demands of culture and tradition are not necessary. Keeping up appearances is not necessary. Only one things is necessary – abiding with Christ. Mary found this one thing as she sat at the feet of Jesus, absorbed in his teaching. We see three things in this passage about the importance of sitting at Jesus’ feet.
1. Only one thing is permanent.
“Which will not be taken away from her.”
Have you experienced the temporary nature of life? So much in our lives can be taken away from us – our wealth can be taken from us, our jobs can be taken from us, our health and the people we love can be taken from us. But one thing can never be taken from us – our relationship with Jesus.
Jesus is permanent.
But the LORD abides forever; He has established His throne for judgment,
The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
Splendid and majestic is His work, And His righteousness endures forever.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His precepts gain rich understanding. His praise endures forever!
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
The LORD is permanent and doesn’t change. He offers us a relationship which will outlast anything life can throw at us.
2. Only one thing satisfies.
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things”
Despite all of her effort, Martha did not find satisfaction in her serving. At the end of it all, she was still anxious and troubled. Can you relate? Have you been searching for rest and satisfaction and found only a restless anxiety?
Jesus invites us to find a better way. In John 4:13-14, while sitting with a woman whose search for life ended only in a string of broken relationships, Jesus showed her that way:
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
3. Only one thing is necessary.
Understanding this lesson has been a key to unlocking the secrets of lasting peace for countless followers of Christ. Have you learned the lesson?
Moms, the cleanliness of your home is not necessary.
Dads, the completion of your work list is not necessary.
The academic and athletic success of your children is not necessary.
Friends, the approval of others is not necessary.
A romantic relationship is not necessary.
Only one thing is necessary.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown