Jesus Says That There Is One Thing We All Truly Need--His Precious Message of Life!
O Lord God, You have revealed Yourself to me through Your Word, so that I might come to know You, draw close to You, and be instructed by You. As I approach Your presence this day for worship instill within my heart a reverence for Your Word even as I am instructed by that Word. Amen.
Paul urges us to “stand fast and hold the traditions” we have been taught. Those traditions are the teachings of Scripture, through which Jesus and our heavenly Father comfort our hearts and establish our lives.
Jesus urges us to “lay up treasures in heaven,” for all earthly treasures are but temporal, while heavenly treasures are eternal. When our focus is on Christ, then our lives will be filled with His light.
Text: Luke 10:38-42
Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 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.”
In Christ Jesus, who gladly provides us the one thing needed, dear fellow redeemed:
Needs versus wants; wants versus needs! A good deal of success in life will come to the one who can truly sort out the difference between his or her needs and wants. For instance, I need a source of transportation, but I may want a 2015 Mustang convertible. The one is a necessity, while the other would simply be expensive fun! Some wants, however, are not so easily distinguished from our needs. I need a place to live, but do I really need to own a home, or is that simply a want? If you then add a spiritual component, the discussion becomes more complex. I may want to go out to eat regularly, but what I truly only need is adequate food. However, Jesus reminds us, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Mt. 4:4b) Then there is life in heaven as opposed to life here on earth. God has given us our physical life to live right here. Those lives are precious and important both to Him and to us, but they pale in both preciousness and importance when compared to eternal life in heaven—His gift to us. Our needs in connection with both will vary and priorities will have to be set, for as Jesus asks, “What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mk. 8:36)
Our text is a good reminder of the challenges we face on a daily basis distinguishing between our needs and wants and setting proper priorities to assure ourselves that all of our needs—both physical and spiritual are truly met. As we consider those needs and set those priorities, I would encourage you to consider this thought: JESUS SAYS THAT THERE IS ONE THING WE ALL TRULY NEED—HIS PRECIOUS MESSAGE OF LIFE! Consequently, let us strive never to be distracted by this life! Rather, let us strive always to be devoted to that life!
The story in our text is a familiar one. Jesus entered what Luke describes as “a certain village.” That village was Bethany, which lay just two miles east of Jerusalem on the way to Jericho. Luke then tells us that “a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.” Martha’s sister was Mary. We are told that upon Jesus’ arrival Mary “sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word,” while Martha was “distracted with much serving.”
Martha was a very devout woman motivated by the best of intentions. She wanted to be a good hostess and meet the physical needs of Jesus, whom she believed to be “the Christ, the Son of God” (cf. Jn. 11:27), by providing Him with a delicious meal. As the meal preparation tasks increased, so did Martha’s anxiety and her frustration—both with Mary and with Jesus. To her way of thinking, Mary should really have been helping her accomplish this good goal, rather than simply enjoying Jesus’ company, and Jesus by this time should have noticed her efforts and Mary’s lack thereof. We are told, therefore, that she approached Jesus and vented a bit of her frustration by saying, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Jesus’ response was perhaps surprising, but so very instructive: “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 from her.”
My dear friends, it is very easy to be caught up in the general busyness of this life and be distracted from the one thing we all truly need as we pursue the many worthy goals we have on our “to-do lists.” It is important to provide for our families by working hard at our jobs. It is worthwhile and a matter of good stewardship to take care of our homes and our yards. It is commanded in Scripture that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick. Yet all of these worthy goals—just like Martha’s preparations for the provision of a meal for Jesus—can get in the way of securing the ONE THING WE ALL TRULY NEED—JESUS’ PRECIOUS MESSAGE OF LIFE! Let us strive never to be distracted by this life!
Which one of us can honestly say that we never become distracted by this life? Which one of us can claim, “I spend enough time every day reading and meditating upon God’s Word”? A year ago, our Wednesday Evening Bible Study group read through the entire Bible in 32 weeks. Each week we discussed the key people, themes, prophetic messages, as well as our favorite passages found within the selections we had read. I thoroughly enjoyed that study, as did quite a few others. I must confess, however, that my own personal, devotional Bible reading has not been as regular since finishing that study. It seems like there is just so very much to do, and there simply do not seem to be enough hours in each day!
Yet, God’s Word remains “a lamp unto my (our) feet and a light to my (our) path!” (Ps. 119:105) Rather than assuming that we do not have time to spend sitting at Jesus’ feet and reading His Word, let us recognize how dependent we are upon it and embrace every opportunity we have to study it. Jesus, after all, says that if we abide in His Word, we will “know the truth” and that truth will make us “free!” (cf. Jn. 8:31-32) John informs us that the whole purpose of his Gospel was so that we “might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you (we) may have life in His name.” (Jn. 20:31)
It is so easy when we are pre-occupied with doing good things to forget about the true nature of our sins and simply conclude that as long as I am doing these good things, I must be all right. Satan must love such thinking, for if he cannot lead us into sins of the flesh, he tries to lead us into sins of the mind—spiritual pride, or at a very minimum spiritual complacency! Yet the more we study God’s Word the more we realize how much we need our Savior, Jesus. God’s law certainly does perform its function of revealing our sin, when it is regularly utilized (cf. Rom. 3:20). God’s gospel likewise performs its function of reassuring us poor sinners of God’s love and forgiveness in the face of the law’s condemnation. It assures us that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us” not from just some of our sins, but “from all sin!” (1 Jn. 1:7) For you see God’s Word was intended to make us “wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 3:15) By sitting at Jesus’ feet and studying that Word, we can be assured that we will be made “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17) in this life and in this world. But not just that, for Jesus came, He tells us, not simply so that we “may have life,” but that we may have that life “more abundantly” (Jn. 10:10) and experience that life throughout all of eternity!
Let us, therefore,strive never to be distracted by this life, for JESUS SAYS THAT THERE IS ONE THING WE ALL TRULY NEED—HIS PRECIOUS MESSAGE OF LIFE!
Rather, let us strive always to be devoted to that life! Jesus once prayed, “Father…. glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Jn. 17:1b-3)
We can rest assured, I believe, that Martha both understood and accepted Jesus’ words of gentle admonition. She no doubt had the same reaction to Jesus that the young Samuel once had when the LORD first spoke to him, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” I cannot quite imagine Martha storming off to the kitchen to sulk. Rather, she probably took off her apron and sat down beside Mary in order to listen to a message breathing out and instilling life. Dinner could and no doubt did wait. Perhaps Martha even ushered her servants in to join her at Jesus’ feet.
What about us? Do we understand the importance of Jesus’ precious message of life? My dear friends, let us strive always to be devoted to that life! How might we do that? What is the nature of true devotion? True devotion in a religious sense involves a growing understanding of, a deep affection for, and an intense loyalty to Jesus, leading to genuine piety and ongoing worship. Is this what characterizes our relationship with our Savior? Paul advises us: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5). Let us do that today.
Is our understanding of ourselves, our Savior, and His role in meeting our needs growing each day? Do we regularly reflect upon our lives, recognizing our weaknesses and confessing our sins? Are our lives lived in daily repentance? (1st Thesis of Luther’s 95 Theses) Do we see in Jesus the One whom God sent to be our Savior? Do we recognize that in His life and through His death we find forgiveness for our sins and restoration with God? Do we truly understand how dependent we are upon God, not simply for our spiritual health and future welfare, but also for our present existence here on this earth? God, after all, “gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). The theme of the Book of Acts, recorded in Acts 19, is “the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:20). I would hope, my dear friends, that it would also be the theme of our spiritual lives!
If that is the case, then our relationship with Jesus Christ and His gospel message will be one of deep affection. The premier passage, of course, dealing with our affection for Jesus is, “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). God’s deepest desire is to have a personal relationship with each of us based not upon our fear of His judgment, but rather based upon our response to His great love, which is intended to reestablish trust and instill within our hearts joy, hope, and confidence. Where there is such joy, hope, and confidence, there cannot but be deep affection and genuine love. Is that not why the Bible speaks of Jesus as our heavenly Bridegroom (cf. Mt. 9:15) and each of us as His bride? (cf. Rev. 21:2) Do you and I have such a deep affection for Jesus?
God’s love for us, His gift of life to us, and His eternal plans involving each of us should lead naturally to intense loyalty, but are we loyal? Jesus once said, “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Mt. 12:30a). He also once warned, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32-33). We live in a time of increasing intolerance of biblical thinking and biblical morality. To confess Jesus and His teachings is often painted in today’s world as being narrow-minded and bigoted. Yet, true devotion means that we loyally confess Jesus and His gospel of life irrespective of the consequences. Are we willing to do that? I pray we are. In order to encourage ourselves, let us remember always that Jesus is with us and will always uphold us as we embrace Him (Mt. 28:20).
Finally, are our lives characterized by genuine piety and ongoing worship? That does not mean that we never sin, nor does it mean that we are always in church. It does mean that Jesus and His precious message of life are at the center of our thinking, and that we strive to have our every thought, word, and action serve to glorify the name of Christ and to be an expression of thanksgiving to God (cf. Col. 3:16-17).
My dear friends, JESUS SAYS THAT THERE IS ONE THING WE ALL TRULY NEED—HIS PRECIOUS MESSAGE OF LIFE! Let us strive never to be distracted by this life, but rather, to be devoted to that life! Amen.