“And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41 NLT)
Sometimes we just have to face it: the perceived problem is not the problem!
Of course, in my intellect I know that assessment is true; however, in my emotion I find a plethora of reasons — or excuses — for focusing on the perceived problem. Mainly, it is easier to shift blame to something or someone else instead of recognizing my own role in the struggle.
Over the past few weeks I have been studying and teaching on the principle of The One Thing and the study has served as a sort of myth-buster in revealing the real problem. While the corporate world applauds the ability to multi-task, the Bible shines that competence in a different light.
Often, multi-tasking is defined as: the performance of multiple tasks at one time. While usually the ability is commendable, it is shortsighted. In reality, when we spread ourselves so thinly in order to accomplish several tasks at the same time, generally we are not giving our best effort to any of those tasks.
The One Thing Principle clearly is in view in the account of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary (Luke 10). While Martha welcomed Jesus, she was so consumed with all of the traditional and customary tasks of hospitality that she missed the One Thing that was most needful — the ministry of presence and spending time with Jesus. Martha focused on all of things she could do for Jesus, but did not spend time with Him. With Him is always more needful than for Him!
Mary understood the importance of being with Jesus. To Martha, it looked like Mary was shirking her responsibility, and Martha even asked Jesus to rebuke Mary for doing the right thing! Instead, Jesus rebuked Martha for trying to hinder Mary’s choice of the most needful (the good part). In truth, Martha wanted Mary to act and to be like herself; she missed the One Thing that is most needful.
As Jesus was headed to the cross, He did not need a lavish meal as much as He desired the presence and love of His friends. The encouragement He wanted to give to those sisters was hindered by Martha’s self-centered focus. Martha may have had the gift of hospitality, but the gift is never more important than the Giver of all spiritual gifts!
What if we focused on one thing until we saw it accomplished? If I have learned anything in nearly 25 years of ministry it is to keep doing the last thing God told me to do until He tells me to do something else — however, it remains an ongoing lesson.
God is faithful to complete what He starts and He intends for us to remain engaged and focused on the One Thing to which He has called us.
The apostle Paul, inspired by God, spoke of this confidence: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6)
I fear that much of the body of Christ has lost confidence in this truth as evidenced by the much hustling around to try to keep all of the ministry plates spinning at the same time, to the exclusion of trusting God to use other believers whom He has equipped. It seems the mantra has become, “If I don’t do this task, it won’t get done.” We try to spiritualize the statement by saying that we do not distrust God, rather we do not trust others.
Again, the perceived problem is not the problem! The real issue is that too often we do not trust others to do a task the way we think it should be done, so we overextend ourselves to the point that we do not do any of the multiple tasks to the best of our ability. The problem lies in the fact that we do not really trust God to move in the lives of other individuals.
The real problem is that we want to be Holy Spirit for other people.
Today, ask the Lord to reveal the “many things” that threaten your peace and disturb your personal, intimate relationship with Him. Choose to prioritize the most needful things and spend time at the feet of Jesus until He has shown you what to do next — it is the most needful thing; everything else can wait.
The real problem is not that we do not have enough time to get all of our tasks done, rather we spend our time on the less necessary and miss out on the One Thing that Jesus wants to show us. That is the problem.
Take a deep breath. Understand that God has not called you to do everything. Focus on the One Thing that you know He has called you to do and equipped you to accomplish. Keep doing the last thing Holy Spirit told you to do until He tells you to do something different.
That is the “good part.” That is the “one thing that is needed.”