Sunday, December 12, 2004

One Thing

Watching “City Slickers” today. My favorite scene is when Curly (the cattle boss played by Jack Palance) and Mitch (the city slicker played by Billy Crystal) are riding together and talking about life. Curly has just nailed Mitch’s problem on the head:
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?
Mitch: No, what?
Curly: This. (Curly holds up one finger)
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing.
And that’s the secret of life!

David said, “One thing I have desired of the LORD. That will I seek forever” (Psalm 27:4).

When Jesus was visiting and teaching at the home of Martha and Mary, Mary sat at His feet while Martha busied herself in service and was distracted by it. After a while she came to Jesus and complained, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell here to help me.” Siblings.

Jesus answered, “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).

It is very easy to get worried, troubled and distracted by many things, but God calls us to only one thing. “I am the LORD your God … you shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:2-3). Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). We are not even to seek the other things, just the one thing. Then all the other things will be taken care of.

Our hearts are big enough for one thing only. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Purity of heart is to will one thing, and that the good.” When there are two things, our hearts go back and forth, wavering between them. It is double-mindedness. James said, “Let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord” (James 1:7). David said, “Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name” (Psalm 86:11 NIV).

David realized that only one thing was necessary, and sought after it diligently: “That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). At the time, he and his army were surrounded by the enemy, and could easily have been overwhelmed. “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living” (v. 13). But he pursued the one thing, the only needful thing — the presence of the LORD.

Martha was distracted by many things. Mary sought only one — the presence of Jesus. “Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

All we really need is one thing — the presence of the LORD. And that is the secret of life.

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