Summary: A contemporary devotion about priorities.
The #1 thing
In the movie City Slickers, Mitch (Billy Crystal) is on a Baby Boomer cattle drive in search of the real meaning of life. In one scene he is out riding with the gritty trail boss, Curly (Jack Palance). Curly realizes why Mitch is on the trip and confronts him with it. When Mitch asks what the meaning of life is, Curly holds up one finger and says "This". Mitch asks what that means. Curly told him, that it is one thing. With great anxiety of finally finding out what "The One Thing" is, Mitch askes what is the "One Thing." Curly’s reply - "That’s for you to figure out." Deep theology there. Curly was the unlikely angel that leads Mitch, to look for the “One Thing” in his life that’s missing.
What is the number one thing in your life? Family? Career? Wealth? What is it? The Bible says that where your treasure’s are, there will your heart be also. So what do you treasure?
Is the number one thing in your life spiritual in nature? Let’s examine what the number one thing should be.
Text: Luke 10:38-42
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41 "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."
What should be the top priority in your life? Should it be Jesus? Certainly, without Jesus in your life, you have no eternal hope. Martha acknowledged Jesus as Lord. She opened her home to Him, yet Jesus said she didn’t get it. Agreeing that Jesus is real is not the #1 thing. I’ve talked to many Christians that are more than a little disappointed with their existence after accepting Christ as their Savior. They felt that by accepting Him into their life, they would find the fulfillment they’d been searching for, yet they still feel hollow. Why is that? It’s because they thought that just accepting Jesus was enough. So, if Jesus is not the number one thing in our life, what is?
Perhaps serving the Lord should be #1. In our text, we find Martha serving the Lord. In fact, the text tells us that Martha was so busy serving the Lord, that she was distracted by all the preparations. Still Jesus said she didn’t get it. Early in my Christian life I was so delirious with joy over my new found faith, that I volunteered for just about every job at church. I literally was there seven days a week. People were very happy with the fact that this new, young Christian was so eager to serve. However, I found out later, that while I was busy serving, God was looking for something deeper from me.
Maybe the #1 thing is having a good heart. Some people have a philosophy that if you just have good intentions you’ll be alright. Look at Martha. Her motives are appropriate. She had good intentions. Her desire was to provide an excellent meal, and great hospitality. Still Jesus said she didn’t get it. Righteous motives, even when they are directed toward the Lord are not the #1 thing.
Perhaps the number one thing is making sure we do everything right according to protocol. Here in this setting, tradition would have been that both Martha and Mary assist in serving their guests. This is in fact what we find Martha complaining about. Not that she felt Mary was being lazy while she toiled in the kitchen, but that Mary wasn’t following protocol. Still Jesus ruled against that. Doing something just because that’s the way it’s always been done is not the number one thing.
We see another possibility in our text. Is Justice the number one thing? Martha asked Jesus to do the fair thing and insist that Mary help her out. Still this wasn’t the number one thing. Equality and fairness misses the mark.
What is the number one thing? Look again at the text – verse 42, “but only one thing is needed.” The one thing is seen in verse 39, Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what He is saying. Mary was busy about the one thing that really mattered, having a personal relationship with Christ. Jesus desires that we have a deep relationship with Him. He wants more than our Sunday morning get together. He wants you to know Him. This heart-to-heart relationship is the ONE thing He desires more than all of the other things.