Summary: A look at five "one thing" statements in Scripture, and what they can teach us about what really matters
Good morning. Please turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 10. This morning will be a little different though, because instead of diving deep into one passage, we are actually going to be turning to several different passages of Scripture. So you might want to flex your fingers to get them limbered up, because they are going to get a workout this morning!
I don’t want to alarm anyone, but today is October 25. And that means that exactly two months from today is Christmas Day.
I know, I know. You aren’t supposed to talk about Christmas until after Halloween. But its true. Sixty days from today is Christmas Day. Which also means that after today, there are fifty-nine more shopping days until Christmas.
A few years ago I heard about a new trend that was becoming really popular with parents. Its called the “Four gift rule.” It’s the idea that every person in the family gets just four gifts. Now just to give you an idea of how popular this is, I Googled “Four gift rule” and got 436 MILLION results. Now, I have no idea how popular it is with kids. Right now I’ll bet there are lots of kids that are saying, “Mom. Dad. Stop listening to Pastor James.” But hear me out.
The four gift rule boils down all the wish lists to just four gifts:
One thing you want.
One thing you need.
One thing to wear.
One thing to read.
Again—kids might be going, this is a terrible idea. We need to change churches. Can we please be Methodist? But parents have found that by giving their kids input and really listening to them, they are learning more about their passions when they hear about what they want. They are learning more about their sense of style and their interests when they really listen to their ideas for something to wear and read. They are learning about their challenges and their difficulties when they listen to what they say they need. And the kids are learning to prioritize. How to choose the things that really matter.
Now whether you decide to go with this idea or not, it’s a great exercise for all of us to figure out what our priorities are. Imagine that you were given a blank grid, and told to write ONE thing in each quadrant: Think of this as the grown up version of the four gift rule:
• The One thing that defines you
• The One thing you need right now
• The One goal you have for your future
• One obstacle that is standing in your way
Could you do it? Probably the biggest challenge for you would not be to think of one thing to put in each box. Your challenge would be to think of ONLY one thing to put in each box. We aren’t very good at that. We hate the idea of being limited to one thing because we like to keep our options open. If we commit to one thing it might mean missing out on something else. And so we look at these four areas and we think—there’s not one thing that defines me. I’m a multifaceted person. I don’t need just one thing. I need one thing more. One goal? I have many goals. I have goals for my family. I have goals for my career. I have a bucket list of things I want to do before I die. How can I think of just one goal?
Its that phrase “ONE THING” that’s really the sticking point, isn’t it?
There are several places in Scripture that address the importance of ONE THING. And that’s what we are going to talk about this morning. We are going to look at five different ONE THING passages, and as we do, my prayer is that this is going to help you shift your priorities—from being worried and anxious about “many things” to prioritizing ONE THING. That’s what our first passage is about. Let’s look at Luke 10 together. This is the story of Jesus’ interaction with two sisters—Mary and Martha. If you are physically able, please stand to honor the reading of God’s Word, beginning in Luke 10:38
38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus[d] entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. 40 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.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary.[e] Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”