Friday, April 17, 2009

one thing



Recently I received a much anticipated package in the mail. An oversized manila envelope, it contained materials for hosting an informational event about human trafficking. That night I stayed up late poring over the materials and went to sleep quite overwhelmed and weary.

Over the next few days I began seeking God more diligently about how I could serve in this area but, by His grace alone, my heart's cry shifted from what can I do to help to how can I know God more. Asking for guidance in how to serve was replaced with asking to know His heart for the oppressed, His love for the broken, His plans for their rescue. Asking to know Him. And this led me more and more to His Word.

Thinking about this, a specific verse has come to mind: But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42

The NLT states it this way: There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it--and I won't take it away from her.

This verse speaks of when Mary chose to sit at Jesus' feet and hear His word while her sister was busy doing "stuff." Mary's decision revealed a posture of humble submission to her Master, of faith that His words were truth, and of love for the One who loved her so dearly. She knew that to be close to hear His know Him...was the ONE THING.

What does sitting at Jesus' feet mean? To hang out in the middle of my living room floor as I wait for the clouds to part and a booming voice to speak to me? That I never actually do anything but just sit and read my Bible?

C.H. Spurgeon explains: It meant, also, service, for though Mary was not apparently engaged in waiting upon Christ as Martha was, yet she was, in very truth, ministering unto him in a deeper and truer sense... The first duty, indeed, of the student to the tutor is that he be cheerful in accepting, and diligent in retaining, what is taught... In that same spirit, had the Master only intimated it, she would have risen to wash his feet, or anoint his head, or wait at table, as Martha did; but she would, while she was performing these active duties, have continued spiritually in her first posture; she could not, of course, have continued literally sitting at the feet of the Saviour, but her heart would have remained in the condition which that posture indicates. She was in the fittest position for service, for she waited to hear what her Lord would have her to do.

Spurgeon goes on to say: Imagine not that to sit at Jesus' feet is a very small, unmeaning thing. It means peace, for they who submit to Jesus find peace through his precious blood. It means holiness, for those who learn of Jesus learn no sin, but are instructed in things lovely and of good repute. It means strength, for they that sit with Jesus, and feed upon him, are girded with his strength; the joy of the Lord is their strength. It means wisdom, for they that learn of the Son of God understand more than the ancients because they keep his statutes. It means zeal, for the love of Christ fires hearts that live upon it, and they that are much with Jesus become like Jesus, so that the zeal of the Lord's house eats them up.

Tonight at church Luke 24:32 was part of the message, and this verse seemed to explain what God has been doing in my heart as of late: And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?"

In this passage the resurrected Christ, though unrecognized by Cleopas and another man, went through the Scriptures (what we know as the Old Testament) to show how every book pictures or prophesies about Him. These truths stirred the hearts of the men, leading to an invitation for Jesus to "abide" with them. Then, as Jesus broke bread with the men, "their eyes were open and they knew Him."

They heard Jesus' words. They chose to abide with Him. He revealed Himself to them.

I can use my camera to take photos of people who cannot afford to buy them but doing so is not the ONE THING NEEDED.

I can blog about needs, causes, and injustices but doing so is not the ONE THING NEEDED.

I can read about nutrition, recycling, treading softly, attachment, parenting, and raising a healthy family but doing so is not the ONE THING NEEDED.

I can fight against human trafficking with every ounce of my being but doing so is not the ONE THING NEEDED.

Yes, these are good things, but they are not the ONE THING.

Yes, I will continue to do these things but, by God's grace, they will not be my ONE THING.

Again, Spurgeon: One thing is needful—let the rest go. What if we have not learning?—what if we have not eloquence? If we live near to Christ, we have something better than all these; if we abide in him, and he abides in us, we shall go and bring forth fruit, and our fruit shall remain; if he abides in us, we shall enjoy heaven on earth, and be daily preparing of that eternal heaven which is to be our portion. "One thing is needful." God grant it to every one of us!—Amen.


Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

Such a thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing your journey. Something to think about...

dan and rachel said...

great post! my dad is a pastor and has preached on "the one thing needful" before. important stuff! always love reading your perspective, tish!

Rebecca said...

AMEN sista!! Have been thinking about this lately too.

Great reminder as I start out a new week.

Love you,

Jenna said...

WOW. If we abide in Him and He abides in us our fruit will REMaiN. That really hit me. What good is doing anything if the fruit won't remain? To think I'd be killing myself to keep up just for it all to wither away.

Nothing like some really good perspective, huh?

I think about this a lot too, and I definitely need to focus more on the one thing needed!!!

Thanks, Tish!

Lisa said...

You humble me.....always so genuine and sincere. Thank you...