We find an interesting character in the Gospels, a woman by the name of Martha.
“But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Jesus, and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40
Pretty good lesson, don’t you think? ‘Martha,’ Jesus said, ‘there is nothing in this world more important than your relationship with Me. Mary’s found that, and I won’t take it away from her so she can focus on less important things.’
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:1-4
Martha is still doing it! Jesus is just days from being physically out of her life forever and there she is, fussing in the kitchen. I wonder. Do we do the same? Aren’t we distracted by a 101 things that we put before our relationship with Jesus. Haven’t you spent all day at home on a day off and there Jesus is, waiting and waiting and waiting for you to seek His guidance, to tell Him about your day, your relationships, your fears, your hopes, and instead maybe He’ll get three minutes as you nod off to sleep.
“Only one thing is important.”
“By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward - to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.”
It seems to me that for many, the Christian life is one where Jesus is just an accessory to life. He most assuredly is not Lord and Master. It’s no accident that we’ve arrived at a point in history where “christians” divorce at a rate the same as or greater than their pagan neighbours. People are content to coast - to put value on how they feel rather than on obeying Jesus the Messiah.
I wonder if this happens because we don’t sense how desperate our situation is? For many, once they’re “saved” Jesus is placed in line, not at the head of the line but in line, to compete with all the other “important” things of the world. Yeats thought that “the worst are full of passionate intensity,” but I don’t think that’s true for very many of us - good or bad. I think that for most of us, sorting out what’s important from what’s merely a distraction requires too much effort. That means that those who want to distract us from the “One Thing” have a much easier time than they deserve. And that’s true for both the secular and the religious leaders of our day.
My concern is that the secular world seems to be convincing us that how we feel, in marriage and other relationships is more important than doing the right thing. I find it so sad - so tragic - it breaks my heart. Entertainers like Katie Perry sing songs with lines that go, “Let’s go all the way tonight. No regrets. Just love.” O God how stupid can these people be? Oh, and she tells Rolling Stone Mag that she prays in tongues (((sigh)))
“Just one thing is important,” says Jesus. For millennia those who ignore that One inevitably turn to their bodies for the sole source of pleasure, value and power. With nothing else of value to offer, our children are encouraged by entertainers to offer their bodies first as enticement for relationship. Literally, morally bankrupt, there is nothing else to offer.
Pagan entertainers call what they’re peddling “Freedom.” Slaves to their bodies, these sheeple march willingly into prisons of corrupted self-love. And so we have a world where concepts of right and wrong, good and bad are anchored to the ebb and flow of human desire. Freedom - ya they’re free alright. Free like a ship on the ocean with no means of finding location or direction. These pagans consider it freeing to be able to go in any direction they feel like going - completely incapable of finding safe harbour for their soul.
Only one thing is important and that is a healed, and forgiven relationship with our Lord and Saviour. And in case this sounds too dismal? Check out the IHOP web page for the ad that announces an event the draws 20,000 young adults to a One Thing weekend of worship Dec. 28-31 in Kansas City. Several people from the Soup Kitchen where I volunteer are heading down - again.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2