Keith Wishum: Just one thing

Published 7:00 am Sunday, April 30, 2017

“Only one thing is needed.”
Are you kidding? Hundreds of things are needed today! Work is piling up. One of the kids has to be taken to the doctor. The other has chorus practice and needs to be picked up late after school.  The car needs to be serviced. The half-done roof repair begs for attention. Debris from the unfinished bathroom screams for that job to be finished.
You get the picture. You’ve got a picture like it, don’t you?
“Only one thing is needed.”
How could Jesus say that? He was a busy man, too. Hordes hungered for healing. Crowds clamored for his rise to kingship. Students yearned to learn. The world needed to be changed. And yet, there he was, sitting quietly in an obscure home enjoying a pre-dinner chat about the important issues of life. As far as we know, only one person was listening.
“Only one thing is needed.”
There was another in the house. She was busy preparing dinner. She was getting things done. A whirlwind of activity, she would have made an excellent American role model. But not only was she boiling potatoes, she was boiling over.
Martha, harried by all the work, complained to Jesus that her sister Mary was sitting idly instead of helping in the kitchen. It’s not hard to understand her complaint. “Why should I do all the work?” seems like a fair question to us.
“Only one thing is needed.”
That was Jesus’ reply. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things (Sound like anyone you know?), but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:41-42).
Looking back, it’s easy to see that Mary made the better use of her time. Martha seems a little silly now. With God in her house, she focused on cleaning the house. While living water flowed in her living room, she pumped water from the well outside. As the bread of life was served on her sofa, she was busy baking biscuits in the kitchen.
Yes, Martha seems silly to us now. But, years from now, how might we seem if people were to read our story? Would ours be a tale of rushing among unimportant events while “what is better” sits ignored in the other room?
“Only one thing is needed.”
What will monopolize our attention today – many lesser things? Or the one thing that’s needed?

A Word from Williams Road is provided by the Williams Road Church.